Strokkur Geyser, Iceland – The Golden Circle

Strokkur (the churn), often called “The Mighty Geyser”. is located in the Thingvellier National Park in Iceland. Strokkuer is one of Icelands most visited and most active geysers. Being at the park for no more than fifteen minutes it becomes evident why this geyser is a popular attraction. It erupts every five to ten minutes with a spectacular display of water gushing out to heights of fifteen to twenty meters ( 49 to 65 feet). In rare cases the geyser has been know to reach heights of 40 meters ( 131 feet).

Strokkur is located in Haukadalur or Geysir Geothermal Field. Haukaddalur is situated nicely in the northern part of the Icelandic lowlands. With Haukadalur being quite beautiful its self Strokkur steals the shows becoming the most visited site in this region. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Haukadalur valley visit the Great Geysir and maybe you will be lucky enough to grab a photo of that erupting.

The Great Geysir has infrequent periods of activity. Eruptions at Geysir can hurl boiling water up to 70 meters (230 ft) in the air. However, eruptions may be infrequent, and have in the past stopped altogether for years at a time. Being more active explains why Strokkur is the more frequently visited feature of this area.

reykjavik geysir on the golden circle
Strokkurr Geyser Iceland on a sunny day. Click to view full sized image.

History of Strokkur

The first mention of Strokkur was in 1789. It was first set off by an earthquake which helped unblock the conduits of water that lead to the geyser. Towards the beginning of the next century its activity fluctuated. It spouted less frequently but with more force. In 1815 Strokkurs height was estimated to have been as much as 60 meters (200 feet).

By the year 1830 the geyser has calmed down considerably and rarely spouted. Strokkur continued to erupt until the late 1920 when another earthquake blocked its conduits. It wasn’t until 1963 were the  Geysir Committee voted to clear out the conduits by boring a 40 meter hole into the bottom of its basin.  Since then Strokkur has been erupting regularly.

What causes a Geyser to Erupt?

Active geysers around the world are rare.  You may have only heard about Old Faithful, however there is a few more around the world that are active and regular. Many specific need to be met before a geyser is formed and for this reason they are only formed in highly geothermal areas. 

Heat, intense heat is the first requirement. Hot magma from the Earths core must be close enough to the surface to heat rocks to over 100 degrees Celsius. Hot enough to boil water. Considering that Iceland is situated on a rift; a divide of both North America and Europe this condition is met throughout most of Iceland.

The second condition that needs to be met is a water source. Water from Strokkur comes from the Langjökull glacier, Icelands second largest glacier. The glacial run off soaks into the porous lava rocks and travels in all directions underground.

Third and finally we need a complex series of underground conduits that lead above the heat source. Above this source there must be enough underground space to hold the water like a reservoir. Above this underground basin there must be a hole, or vent to allow the water to escape. The escape vent must be lined with silica which block the pours in the lava rock so the water, and steam cannot escape. Once all the conditions are met you have the stunning natural feature Strokkur.

Where is Strokkur:

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