middle earth @ the surface

1_MyvatnPanoNamafjall Hverir Venting Across the Myvatn Region Highlands

We don’t have long to wait for the next serving of extraordinary as the road begins to dip toward the Mynvatn region. Translucent clouds of steam preface our arrival at Namafjall, the long low-slung mountain overlooking the Hverir, a geothermal expanse of boiling mudpots and fumeroles at this point where the earth’s surface is very thin and geological activity is the constant magic show. Ropes section off the excessively hot areas or fumeroles prone to bursts of expression – hot enough to cause severe burns. The sulphur smell is pungent. With depths of 1000 meters and temperatures above 200-degrees, a surreal landscape of red-orange wonder rises ghostly from the nadir.


Hikers seem to float in and out of reality as curtains of steam make them appear and disappear randomly. The bottom of our boots feel uncomfortably hot as air temperature bites our cheeks with chill. This is a land of otherworldly extremes. Burbling mudpots are bleached white and cracked with chemical reaction, as the blue-gray of sky and expectant clouds paint a lovely complementary color palette juxtaposing burnt oranges of Martian-like landscape. Another few hours slip away in the rising steam as we explore this cauldron of beauty. As we head to Husavik, the road gradually falling towards the sea, vents of steam christen the landscape in every direction with power plants meticulously poised to capture this exquisitely endless energy resource. Power on. Infinite beauty providing infinite energy.

1_Myvatn Steampower

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