The Great Geysir (originally just Geysir) is found in southwestern Iceland in the Haukadalur valley.
In recent years it has become infrequent in its eruptions so on my visit in 1990 it was Strokkur geyser situated 50 metres from the Great Geysir that I took these photos. It is the world’s most persistent geyser and erupts in a continuous cycle. This cycle is seen in the three photos. Firstly the vent is visible with just a little steam being seen coming from it. As the water builds up it reaches the top of the vent and rises in a bubble as the pressure of the boiling water intensifies beneath it. The bubble bursts in a sudden, violent action sending a spout of water high into the air, around 40 – 50 metres.
The Great Geysir was the first described in print in the 18th century but accounts date back to 1294. Geologically the sinter indicates activity of the geysir for 10,000 years. It is strongly related to earthquake activity with the spout increasing in height when there is more seismic activity. There has been a period of time when there have been no eruptions at all for several years. The height of its blows are reported at 170 metres in 1845.
Strokkur was first reported in 1789 when an earthquake opened a vent. It stopped its activity for awhile in the 1890’s but with renewed earthquake activity which either unblocked or opened a new conduit it recommenced it’s frequent activity and has been regularly performing ever since.
Many of the photographs seen on the internet are of Stokkur rather than the Great Geysir as they are labelled but I think this is understandable as when I went there I was told I was going to the Geysir. I thought that is what I was watching with awe as the bubble rose and burst. It was not until later that I discovered that the area is labelled Geysir and encompasses both the geysers and the hot springs.
Two other of the main tourist attractions of Icecland are found in this region also (Pingvellir and the Gullfoss waterfall) and are part of what is called the golden circle that make up the most travelled tourist route in Iceland.