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Hverasvæðið – Hveragerði Geothermal Park

Hveragerði geothermal area
Hveragerði geothermal area. / Aaron Toth, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

WorldBlue  In short

Today the Hveragerði Geothermal Park is somewhat less impressive, if compared to other geothermal fields around Hveragerði (Hveragerdi) town – it is “civilized” and geothermal energy over the last decades has “traveled” to some other locations nearby. Some time ago this was different: the centre of the present-day Hveragerði was an unusual place with geysers and boiling springs.

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GPS coordinates
64.0010 N 21.1885 W
Location, address
Europe, Iceland, Suðurland, approximately 45 km drive west from Reykjavík, in the centre of Hveragerði town
Thermal springs, Geysers, Geothermal fields, Parks and gardens
Alternate names
Hveragarðurinn

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

History

Hot springs at the eastern fringe of the Hengill volcanic massif some 40 kilometers from Reykjavik were noticed long ago. In the 20th century here, around the Varmá river, more and more houses appeared.

Hveragerði Geothermal Park
Hveragerði Geothermal Park. / Aaron Toth, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Already in 1929 here was started commercial production of vegetables and in 1930 here was built the first greenhouse, using the energy of Bakkahver – a hot spring which is covered with a pyramidal roof. In 1940 in Hveragerði was mastered the use of geothermal energy from a pipe. Step by step the town and areas around it are turning into a green paradise – people are planting trees and other plants and, well, the climate is changing too.

Today Hveragerði might feel like a little city, with its own resort industry, numerous glowing greenhouses, shops, and more and more greenery.

Geothermal park

The geothermal area in the center of Hveragerði (Hveragerdi) town exists up to this day.

On the 29th of May 2008, a powerful earthquake changed the geothermal fields around Hveragerði – several new fields formed. Meanwhile, in the geothermal park, the hot springs almost disappeared. The nearby hot springs and geysers (see Grýla and Leppaluði borehole) did not change much.

Thus, what some decades were attractive natural landmarks, nowadays sometimes are just muddy holes in the ground. Nevertheless, this still is an interesting area.

Hveragerði Geothermal Park
Hveragerði Geothermal Park. / Aaron Toth, Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Park includes the following natural attractions:

  • Bláhver – “Blue hot spring”. This spring has a pool of deep blue (a bit muddy) water and in earlier times it was much more active.
  • Dynkur – “Blowing spring”. This is an “almost” geyser. Currently, this is a steam vent but earlier it was erupting a fine spray of water.
  • Eilífur – “The eternal one, everlasting”. A geyser that erupts on a regular basis, every 20 – 25 minutes. Wondermondo is looking for some more information about this feature because before 2016 there was no active geyser in this location, but now: there is “the eternal one”!
  • Gróuhver – named after Gróa Þordardóttir who lived nearby. This former hot spring is weak now.
  • Manndrápshver – “Man killing hot spring”. Here during the night in 1906 fell a local resident and died from scalding. After this tragedy locals installed the street lighting.
  • Önnuhver, also Ruslahver – “Busy hot spring” or “garbage hot spring”. Locals for many years threw their garbage in this spring but after an earthquake in 1947, the spring turned into a geyser. It returned all the trash with noisy, wild explosions and locals had to find another place for it. Now here is just a dry hole.

Icelandic scientists are looking into the ecosystem of the Hveragerði hot springs – here is made the research of heat-resistant ecosystems and biochemistry.

References
  1. Dirk Niemann, Hveragerði and Grændalur, Volcanic Springs. Accessed on June 25, 2019.
Hverasvæðið – Hveragerði Geothermal Park is included in the following article:

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