Monday, December 19, 2016

Akureyri, Iceland: Lava Fields and Geothermal Pools

"Dark castles, dark forts, dark citadels… however you translate the word Dimmuborgir, it should give you some idea of the mangled forms that lie within. Twisted towers of coagulated rock breach the earth’s surface to form a lava field full of giant pillars, chimneys and tubes to scramble across. These dramatic structures never fail to impress and are one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations."

The formation of these extraordinary lava cliffs and pillars is caused by lava ponds, i.e. the hot lava streamed over these ponds trapping the water underneath the lava. Steam issued through vent in the lava pools and formed these pillars, which then remained standing even after the crust around them had gone away. The rocks are brittle and fragile because of how they came to be made, so there is no climbing in them.

After our tour of the lava fields, we took a short bus ride to Namafjall Geothermal Field. Here, we were free to explore the many mud pots, sulphuric mud pools and fumaroles.

This area is strangely beautiful, it almost felt like being on a different planet. The bright orange soil contrasted against the bright blue sky was stunning.  

I have to mention the smell, I have been to Yellowstone and other parks were there are sulfuric springs and could easily deal with the fumes. However, I could not deal with the sulfuric smell here, it is strong, it is potent, it will hit you hard in the nose. So, if you decided to visit this area, which you totally should, it is unique and gorgeous and fascinating, consider yourself warned ;)

Interesting fact about those infamous fumes.... There is a total lack of any type of vegetation in this geothermal field, that isn't due to the high temperatures or the rocky soil it is because he constant emission of the fumes has made the ground utterly sterile and acidic, unfit to sustain any floras and faunas. 

This is one of the largest and most well known steam vents in the field

After a fascinating time at the geothermal pools and pots, it was time to head back to the ship. We had quite a long drive back to the dock, so we got to see numerous Icelandic fields of wild flowers zoom passed our window on our way back to the Disney Magic.

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