Currently Strokkur ("the churn") belongs to the most spectacular geysers on Earth. But not always it has been like this – sometimes around 1900 it seemed to be extinct.

Photogenic eruptions

Strokkur is the main attraction in the beautiful Haukadalur geothermal area.

Strokkur erupting, Iceland
Strokkur erupting / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

In fact this is the only reliable geyser in this famous geyser field. Every few minutes it forms some 10 – 20 m tall fountain, first starting with an unique bubble. Sometimes fountain is even 40 m high.

After the eruption the pool of geyser is emptied – but it quickly (even in 10 seconds) fills up. Before the eruption the pool is pulsating up and down and then a pulse of steam pushes the water upwards, forming a weird bubble with steam visible through it!

The famous bubble of Strokkur is rising, Iceland
The famous bubble of Strokkur is rising / Andreas Tille, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The steam breaks the bubble and eruption starts. For most part there is one powerful burst, but there may happen several bursts as well.

Changing activity

Although now Strokkur is very active, not always it has been like this.

Bubble is broken and Strokkur erupts
Bubble is broken and Strokkur erupts / Andreas Tille, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

This geyser was first noticed in 1789, when after an earthquake it was erupting up to 40 m high.

According to reports of several scientists the power of eruptions fluctuated in the 19th century. In 1810 George Mackenzie reported that Strokkur is some 20 m high and eruptions were lasting for half an hour. In 1815 Henderson estimated that it is even 60 m high. Professor Bunsen in 1846 estimated it to be 50 m high. At the end of the 19th century geyser increased its activity.

Strokkur is dormant, around 1900
Strokkur is dormant, around 1900 / Icelandic and Faroese Photographs of Fredrick W. W. Howell, Cornell University Library. Public domain

Earthquakes at the turn of the 20th century made Strokkur silent – just a steaming hole wit water deeper in it remained.

It remained like this until 1963 – then the vent was thoroughly cleaned with a drill up to 40 m depth through the bottom of its basin (as advised by Geysir Committee). This action was very successful – since this time Strokkur is the main attraction in Haukadalur, with its spectacular and frequent eruptions visible for afar.

Strokkur is included in the following article:

Geysers of Iceland
Geysers of Iceland on the map
Geysers of Iceland on the map / Wondermondo / public domain

Some of the world’s most popular geysers are located in Iceland. But few know about ALL active geysers in Iceland.

This article lists all the known active geysers in Iceland – some 20 – 29 of them. Here are listed also some 38 other places where geysers have existed in the past or features, which are similar to geysers but are not genuine geysers.


  1. Suzan Pasvanoglu, Hrefna Kristmannsdóttir, Sveinbjörn Björnsson, Helgi Torfason, Geochemical Study of the Geysir Geothermal Field in Haukadalur, S-Iceland, Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2000. Accessed on July 12, 2011.
  2. Robert Allan, On the condition of the Haukedalr Geysers of Iceland, July, 1855.


Strokkur on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates: 64.3132 N 20.3024 W
Categories: Thermal springs, Geysers
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: 4 out of 10 stars
Where is located? Europe, Iceland,Suðurland, 100 km drive north-east from Reykjavík, Haukadalur geothermal field
Height: Historically – up to 60 m, now – up to 40 m

Gullfoss, Iceland
Gullfoss / WoSie, Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-2.5.
Iceland is very rich with peculiar natural landmarks and the island contains also interesting cultural landmarks. The highlights of Iceland are the magnificent waterfalls as well as geysers and other geothermal features.


Geysir and Strokkur erupting simultaneously, June 1984
Geysir and Strokkur erupting simultaneously, June 1984 / Roger Goodman, Flickr.CC BY-SA 2.0.
Hasty hydrogeologist would say: geysers are thermodynamically and hydrodynamically unstable hot springs. “Normal” people would say – geysers are hot springs which at more or less regular intervals shoot up a fountain of boiling water and steam. Sometimes these fountains are even 100 m tall… or even 450 m!

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