Strokkur Geyser, Iceland

September 19, 2000


Provided by: Jim Foster, NASA/GSFC
Summary author: Jim Foster

This photograph of Strokkur Geyser was taken in southwestern Iceland on August 23, 2000. Just because of its name and because it's located near the Arctic Circle, it doesn't mean that Iceland is a land of perpetual ice and snow. Actually, Iceland is a land of both ice and fire. Although Iceland has few natural resources, hot springs and geysers, such as this one, are used as a source for geothermal energy and are popular tourist attractions as well. Worldwide there are fewer than 750 geysers. For a geyser to erupt, there needs to be a sufficient supply of water, intense heat and unique plumbing conditions. Approximately 85% of Iceland's nearly 300,000 inhabitants use geothermal energy to heat their homes. Also, Iceland needs to import very little foodstuffs since they can grow most everything they need in geothermal-heated greenhouses. Even though there's very little arable land, hundreds of these greenhouses help make Iceland self-sufficient in terms of agriculture. The Strokkur Geyser pictured here is in southeastern Iceland, and it erupts to a height of 60 ft or so (about 20 m) about every 3 minutes.

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