The Haukadalur Geothermal Area forms an extraordinary region of geological beauty in southern Iceland. In fact, one of the geysers found in the area actually represents one of the first geysers that modern man discovered.
The earliest known recorded mention of the spectacular landscape features was in 1294. At that time, an earthquake activated numerous hot springs within the region now popular as the Haukadalur Geothermal Area.
The region has been a major attraction for tourists since the 18th century and continues to thrive in that regard.
Haukadalur Geothermal Area Origins and Nature
The Haukadalur geothermal Area was originally formed at the end of the last Ice Age. Occasional earthquakes in the region continue to alter its nature even today. The last such earthquake in the region occurred in July of 2000.
There are currently 40 geothermal based features present in the Haukadalur Geothermal Area. All of these are volcanic in nature. They include multiple geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pots.
The largest of the geysers is Strokkur and many of the geysers are comparatively regular in the timing of their eruptions.
Haukadalur Geothermal Area Physical and Biological Distinctiveness
Several of the small springs in the area are quite unique. The water within them is sodium bicarbonate thermal water due to the extremely high concentrations of sodium bicarbonate.
These same streams in the Haukadalur Geothermal Area also contain comparatively high concentrations of radon.
Living within this unique environment are numerous species of microorganism and algae that have adapted to survive within the unique water and extreme heat. In fact, many of them are incapable of surviving in water temperatures below 158 F (70 C).