Iceland is located right in the centre of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which spreads apart the continental Eurasian Plate and the North American Plate. The movement that the ridge causes create an opportunity for the magma that resides underneath to rise. This magma upwelling is called the Icelandic Plume.
This makes Iceland one of the most volcanic regions on Earth, where almost all types of volcanic and geothermal activity can be found. Iceland's landscapes forged by the processes of volcanism include rift valleys, geysers, hot springs, rhyolite mountains, columnar basalt formations, lava fields and lunar-like craters.
Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice for a reason with the freezing forces of glaciers and arctic weather in constant battle with the explosive heat of the earth. In total, there are about 130 volcanoes in Iceland but only 30 of these are believed to be active. Their eruptions are highly unpredictable but known to occur regularly. The most recent known eruption in Iceland was at Holuhraun in the Highlands in 2014. Grímsfjall volcano had a short eruption in 2011 and, more famously, Eyjafjallajökull caused some trouble for travellers back in 2010.
Iceland Geysir and Hot Springs
One of our most popular tours in Iceland is the Golden Circle and one of the favourite stops along this excursion is the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area. With its boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air every few minutes, the famous Geysir region became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes.
There are also a fantastic selection of hot springs located around Iceland and having an outdoor soak in one of these volcanically heated pools is considered an essential part of the Icelandic experience. The Iceland Blue Lagoon is one of the country’s most famous with its vividly coloured water, the outflow from a nearby geothermal power station, pools amongst a desolate mass of rough, black lava rubble. The lagoon's fine white silt is considered a cure for all manner of skin conditions. Other hot springs worth visiting are the Secret Lagoon, Jarðböðinn Nature Baths in Mývatn and Landmannalaugar Hot Spring.