One of the greatest natural attractions of Iceland, The Great Geysir, or Stori-Geysir, has been dormant since 1916 when it suddenly ceased to spout. It came to life only once in 1935, and as quickly went back to sleep. Since then its repose has sporadically been disturbed by the dumping of tonnes of carbolic soap powder into its seething orifice in order to tickle it to spout. It is not exactly known when Geysir was created. It is believed that it came into existence around the end of the 13th century when a series of strong earthquakes, accompanied by a devastating eruption of Mt. Hekla, hit Haukadalur, the geothermal valley where Geysir is located.
What is known is that it spouted regularly every third hour or so up to the beginning of the 19th century and thereafter progressively at much longer intervals until it completely stopped in 1916. Whether its silence is eternal or temporary no one knows. When it was alive and shooting, it could thunderously blast a spectacular jet of superheated water and steam into the air as high as 60 to 80 metres according to different sources. Its opening is 18 metres wide and its chamber 20 metres deep. One reason for cessation is believed to be the accumulated rocks and foreign objects thrown into it by thousands of tourists throughout the years. Though definately damaging, this however could not be the only reason for its dormancy.
The famous Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park in the U. S. used to erupt every 66 and half minutes but has in recent years become less and less reliable. The Great Geysir was among the most notable geysers in the world, such as those in New Zealand, Yellowstone, and North Island. The English word "geyser" is derived from the Icelandic word "geysir" which means gusher. Though the Great Geysir itself is now inactive, the area surrounding it is geothermally very active with many smaller hot springs.
The attraction of the area is now Strokkur (The Churn), another geyser 100 metres south of the Great Geysir, which erupts at regular intervals every 10 minutes or so and its white column of boiling water can reach as high as 20-30 metres. The whole area is a geothermal park sitting on top of a vast boiling cauldron. Belching sulphurous mud pots of unusual colours, hissing steam vents, hot and cold springs, warm streams, and primitive plants can all be found here. A short distance away to the west stands the small Laugarfjall mountain with a panoramic view overlooking the Geysir area. King Christian IX of Denmark visited the area in 1874 and by the foot of the mountain are the rocks where he leaned while his hosts tried to impress and amuse him by boiling eggs in the hot springs. The rocks are now called Konungssteinar (The King's Stones"). p
Book your trip to Iceland
All the main Restaurant in Iceland broken down to catagories