Wednesday, November  20, 2019
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The Northeast, Part II
Hverir and Krafla
Thursday, July 12th
Heading back northeast on our washboarded road (regional highway 864) brought us back to the ring road. A short drive west and we arrived at the volcanically active area east of Lake Myvatn. Our first stop in this area was the Hverir geothermal field.
courtesy BConnell
Back north on 864
Old route markers
Hverir Geothermal Field
Hverir was in many ways like the other geothermal fields we had already seen in Iceland, but its area of effect seemed a lot larger. The otherwordly-colored ground of the geothermal field stretched off into the distance, encompassing even the nearby mountain of Namafjall - all colored in that strange unearthly orangey-yellowy ground that is typical of active geothermal areas. Jaundiced ground, you could call it.
Hverir Geothermal Field
Bubbling Mudpot, Hverir
Steaming hole
A brilliant blue sky and a bright sun made the surroundings at Hverir extra-colorful and bright - almost painful to look at without your sunglasses.
courtesy BConnell
courtesy CDoucet
Namafjall
Steaming fumaroles
Closeup, sulfurous crystals
We took a half-hour tour around the geothermal area, observing the various features. The high-pressure steam vents - mounds topped with sulfur-coated boulders - hissed furiously while streaming large amounts of billowing clouds and smelly gas into the clear sky. These were the most distinctive feature of this field - something we hadn't seen the likes of at the other geothermal sites [we'd visited].
Large mudpot
Steam Vent
Colorful steam vent
courtesy CDoucet
Observing steam vents
From Hverir, we headed north, along a paved side-road, to the nearby Krafla area. Krafla is a volcano that has erupted several times in Iceland's near past, the most recent being in the 1970s, when fissures opened up and started spewing lava right next to an under-construction geothermal plant. We passed through the geothermal plant on the way up to the Krafla viewpoints and trailheads. Apparently they were able to complete the construction after the volcanic activity, although apparently not without incident: One of the boreholes they drilled at the time exploded, and for many years the plant ran at only half capacity.
Cooler / Evaporator, Leirbotn plant
Pipework, Leirbotn geothermal plant
Viti
There are several scenic and geological destinations at the end of the road at Krafla: one is the fresh lava flows from the 1970s, still black and steaming, and the other is the crater viti (meaning 'hell'), created in an older eruption of Krafla. We only had time for one, so we chose to hike around the rim of Viti (well, some of us did, anyway). It was a short but scenic hike, offering nice views of the turquoise waters of the crater and of the lands and lava flows of Krafla beyond. Nearby on Krafla's slope we could see the many boreholes of the geothermal plant, busy sucking heat and fluids from the living volcano beneath.
small pool near Viti
Hot ground warning
Solfatera ground, Viti crater
courtesy BConnell
courtesy CHatko
Roland and Ewart at Viti
Geothermal plant boreholes
Roland is hell
Since it was such a beautiful sunny day, we decided to picnic right on the grassy ground next to the Viti trailhead. This was most enjoyable, this roadside scenic picnicing thing, and as long as the weather was good, we resolved to do more.
Brian's picnic lunch
The Icelandic Bathroom
A video sequence covering the various visits we made to some of Iceland's many geothermal areas. Click directly on the image below to start it.

Video Sequence - Geothermal areas - Click on video above to start

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[ Return to "Elemental Iceland" Home page | Introduction | To Iceland! | Day 1-Reykjanes Peninsula | Day 1-Reykjavik | Day 2-Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant | Day 2-Reykjadalur Hot River | Day 2-Geysir and Gullfoss | Day 2-Seljalandsfoss | Day 3-Backpack between volcanoes I | Day 4-Backpack between volcanoes II | Day 4-Skógar to Skaftafell | Day 5-Climbing Iceland's Highpoint | Day 6-Lagoons, Coasts, and Deserts | Day 7-Dettifoss | Day 7-Hverir, Krafla, and Lake Myvatn Area | Day 7-Turf Farm at Laufás | Day 7-Akureyri | Day 8-The Troll Peninsula | Day 8-Eirik's Homestead | Day 9-Final Tour
| Supplemental Images | Where we drove | The "Short Report" | Video Clip Index | GPS Data ]


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