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Geothermal power Mývatn Hveravellir Steam vent in mountains above Hveragerđi HS04-05-01ban Mývatn Námaskarđ


Iceland is one of the world’s most geologically active countries. It lies on the North Atlantic Ridge at the boundary of the American and Eurasian plates and probably emerged from the sea no more than 25 million years ago. The fault line runs NE/SW dividing the country in two. Around this fault, land is still being created, volcanoes erupt and hot springs bubble.

map - faultline

Iceland suffers a volcanic eruption an average every 5 to 10 years and approximately 10% of the land surface is covered with lava. In 1783, the row of craters, Lakagigar produced the greatest outpouring of lava recorded anywhere in the world, covering over 550 square kilometres.

Approx. location of fault line

The poisonous fumes caused crops to fail and livestock to die. The ensuing famine resulted in the death of up to a quarter of Iceland’s population. Hekla is probably the best known of Iceland’s volcanoes and is easily seen from the Ring Road in the south. It last erupted in 2000.

Perhaps the most interesting phenomenon is the juxtaposition of glaciers and volcanoes, some of which lie under the icecap, Vatnajökull. When these erupt, they melt huge quantities of ice, creating enormous floods that nothing can resist. A journey eastward will cross the Skeiđarársandur where you can see the remains of bridges destroyed in recent floods.


Geothermal activity, from mud pools to hot springs, can be experienced in many easily accessible places, from Geysir in the south to Mývatn in the north - the Great Geysir in Iceland gave its name to this type of geothermal activity.

 Images of hotspots, geothermal activity & Mývatn