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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Like Here, Only Different ~ There's A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea

This has been a long day on the Golden Circle Tour.

I could only pick one activity and I wanted to get out and see nature and the marvels of this land.  This tour gives only a little taste, but what a taste it is


This is a day with a bit of variety.

We started with a visit to a geothermal greenhouse and see how fresh vegetables are grown year round using the natural heat generated from the volcanic resources.  Sorry about the photo orientation.

Plant seedlings are started in a separate greenhouse then brought into the planters with more mature plants.

The greenhouse is heated with geothermal heat and the water is processed secondarily.    Lights are also powered with geothermal and turbine generated power. The plants are not hydroponic, but are rooted into large peat bales.  Water is dripped into the bails and runoff is collected and recycled.

Vines climb 25cm per week and when in production, the tomatoes are harvested, packaged and transported to town every day.

Bees are brought in from Belgium and used for pollination.  The are charming, fat round and fuzzy, unlike our common honeybee.  They produce small bulbous cones and the owner says they sometimes make use of the small amount of tomato honey. Parasitic wasps help keep flies out of the fruit.

Completely organic and very environmentally sound.

Gullfoss (golden falls) is a magnificent waterfall dropping staircase fashion and appearing to disappear.

The Wiki page has some wonderful photos of the winter falls, which must be something to see


The falls cascade down with amazing flow and speed.  As there was freezing in the mountains last week, I assume the Spring run off is just getting underway.

Early in the 1900s this area was under speculation for a damming.  One young woman who lived nearby fought very hard to have the areas natural wonders preserved.  Her devotion was complete, including tracking to the city to meet with officials.

We stopped in Haukadalur to see geysers.  Geysir is one of the larger ones and it is from it we get the general term.  Geysir is derived from a word that means "to gush"

Geyser itself no longer erupts like it once did.  Earthquakes have changed its character.

Nearby Strokkur is reliable and erupts with high frequency.

The whole of the basin is filled with small thermal pools, springs and bubbling pots.  Temperatures are around 90C, near boiling.  Some of the thermal pools deposit minerals and are a stunning color, even on this stormy day.

Thingvellir National Park is where we find the hole from the bottom of the sea.  Plate tectonics which create the Mid-Atlantic Rift rise from the ocean and cross Iceland.  It is here that the North American Plate and the Eurasian plates are splitting apart by several centimeters per year.

There really is a hole.  A long Tear Along The Dotted Line rift.



This is a crack of the Eurasian plate

This is the North American plate boundary.

People actually come and scuba dive in the cracks and chasms.

Thingvellir is the birthplace of Iceland.  It is where the first people held Parliament.  The word "thing" originated from this place word.  "Thing" originally a word in abstract; talk and consider the subject / issue at hand.  Only later did the word start to mean an item.

Getting out into the environment was a treat.  It is wild, complex and ever changing.  Moses, lichens short grasses dominate.  Lupins are the main plant along with small shrubby trees which appear to be willow family.  I even spotted some wild Viola

Icelandic Horses were seen frequently and we saw more of the sheep that produce wool.  Most of the ewes have new lambs and it appears that twins are the norm.

Tomorrow it is time to return home and back to my work-a-day world.

It has been quite a time.  Now it is time to dream up another adventure.


  1. Nice to know you are back safely, Marti. Had a really good two days with Melissa and Tina at Red Top, Old Blewett, Derby Canyon, Plain, Chiwaukum Creek and Devil's Gulch. Saw tons of montanums at nearly every stop, lots of fasciculatum (mostly finished), Calypsos and some really unusual Spotted Coralroots. Nance and I are headed this evening for Bonaparte Lake and Sinlahekin to see the other Calypsos (americana) and the Yellow Lady Slippers. Hope to see you on one of the hikes soon.

  2. And what a vacation you have had, Marti!
    Iceland looks to be a land full of adventure and unusual sights.
    Would love to stand by that crack in the Eurasian plate!!