Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Iceland's Blue Lagoon

When people heard 
that my husband and I were traveling to Iceland,
they would invariably ask,
"Are you going to the Blue Lagoon?"

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Aurora, Paris, London, and Reykjavik,
the question was the same,
"You are going to the Blue Lagoon, aren't you?"

Lagoon Waters Lapping Against Pahoehoe Lava

At first I was perplexed, 
because I couldn't remember any Blue Lagoon
from when I had studied Iceland's geology
back in my Early Precambrian.

Yours Truly at the Blue Lagoon

And then I thought maybe I shouldn't go
with all the hype I was hearing ~
It was probably some expensive tourist trap.

But then I remembered that story 
in my grade two reader
about the Icelandic family that went for a picnic
and boiled eggs in a hot spring for lunch.

That second grade moment ~ 
in my one room school 
surrounded by autumn pastures  
in staid Alymer, Ontario ~
when I realized 
that water hot enough to cook eggs
could bubble out of the Earth!

I swore then I would go to mysterious Iceland
to see such a thing.
Maybe even cook a hard-boiled egg.

 The Ever-Patient Terry explores an alien landscape.

I couldn't deny my seven year old self.
I had to go to the Blue Lagoon.

Getting there is easy.
Buses and tour operators converge on the Blue Lagoon,
funneling through the Keflavik and Reykjavik roads
to lava-lined Route 43
to deliver people from all over the world.

Source:  donsnotes

Heading for the Blue Lagoon
Along Route 43 to Grindavik


The E-P checks a map on the walk to the Blue Lagoon.

Now endless vistas of lava might sound boring to some people,
but not if you understand the story behind them
(and, maybe, are passionate about rocks like I am!)

In a controversial nutshell ~ 
Iceland exists because the linear Mid-Atlantic Ridge
and the circular Iceland Hotspot interact.
Hot mantle material upwells in the ridge,
and a hotspot powered by a mantle plume
lifts the MAR above the surface of the ocean
to form the island of Iceland.

Source:  wikimedia 

See those fat purple lines in the map above?
Iceland is literally ripping apart
along those lines or rift zones 
where the spreading Mid-Atlantic Ridge 
is driving the North American and Eurasian plates apart.

Just below you'll see Terry walking 
along the edge of the North American Plate
at Thingvellir, an excellent place to see it.

Thingvellir (Þingvellir) also happens to be the site
where an independent Iceland's Althing (Alþingi)
or Parliament met for over 800 years. 

The Ever-Patient Terry
The edge of the North American Plate is on the right side of the photo.

And here am I touching 
the edge of the North American Plate.
Need I say this was a wildly important Bucket Item?


All this tectonic activity makes Iceland
one of the most geologically active places in the world.
And it is this activity
that makes a place like the Blue Lagoon possible.

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is actually a man-made feature.
Svartsengi, a heat and electric power plant 
adjacent to the Blue Lagoon, 
taps geothermal energy to run its turbines
and provide heat for Icelandic homes.

Svartsengi draws a super-heated, mineral-rich fluid
comprised of seawater and groundwater
from wells drilled a mile or more (up to 2,000 meters)
into the geothermal reservoir.

This water has been heated 
to 392-464ºF or 200-240ºC 
by contact with cooling magma.
The hot fluid runs turbines to produce electricity
and then goes through a heat exchanger
to provide heat for homes.

From the beginning of Svartsengi's operation, 
the waste geothermal fluid was released 
into the surrounding landscape of porous lava flows.

Minerals in the geothermal fluid 
formed a white silica mud that gummed up 
the pores in the lava and formed impermeable layers
allowing the waters to accumulate in ponds.

It didn't take Icelanders too long
to discover that the lovely, warm, milky blue ponds
helped heal psoriasis patients,
and the Blue Lagoon was on the map.

When I soaked in its healing waters,
it was special fun for me,
because I knew that
the North American and Eurasian
plate boundaries meet at the Blue Lagoon.

So yes, we went to the Blue Lagoon
and joined others having a blast
in its warm, anti-aging waters.

Darn!  I forgot to boil an egg!
Looks like the E-P 

will have to take me back to Iceland.
Oh Darn!


  1. It is so beautiful and soothing to see! Thank you so much for sharing this tour!

    1. Thank you, Linda! The waters are wonderful to soak in. I want Terry to take me back in the winter in the dark dark! Have a good evening!

  2. That is really wild. Industry, touristy, and nature all in one spot. Glad you got that off your bucket list.

    1. I have always been fascinated with Iceland, Alex. In third grade we taught the continent of Europe in geography, and each teacher chose a different country, and the kids went from class to class. I always chose Iceland. It was my little joke, because Iceland is not part of the continent of Europe; it's oceanic in origin. The kiddos thought that was pretty cool. I can't wait to get back to Iceland! I have more BL items in that amazing country! Have a great evening!

  3. This is fascinating Louise ~~ I have heard a lot about the Blue Lagoon but never with this much detail. It makes a visit so necessary Bucket List addition as you pointed out.

    The colour is amazing so milky robin's egg blue ~~ love it.

    I have always loved seeing the colours of the world. That is how I see our planet through a rainbow of colour!


    1. Hey Ron! It's so good to see you! Yes, you and Jim have got to get to the Blue Lagoon! It's fascinating on so many levels! And it feels so good. I love all the colors of the world too! I am also drawn to all its rainbow colors. Your worldview is apparent in all the beautiful photos you take in so many landscape moods. Have a great evening, my friend!

    2. My apologies for being neglectful of late ~~ life and life are getting in the way as usual. Hopefully myself can get back into the groove again soon. BTW, remember in Aug when you visited and my legs said "No way Jose?" Well, it turns out that a supplement that I have always taken was the culprit ~ Grapeseed extract ~~ it's gone from my diet for good and my legs re slowly getting back to some semblance of trekking!!

    3. Thanks for the update, Ron! I was worried about you, but as long as Jim was following his regular patterns, I figured that life was busy for you! I git that, LOL! I'm glad that you found out what was affecting your legs and eliminated it! Take care, and keep walking!

  4. Hi Louise, it's Barb - how many ways can I say JEALOUS!!!!! Wish I had been there with you and EP. Wonderful post - as are all your posts - I'm going to be dreaming about bopping around in the Blue Lagoon tonight or touching the edge of the NA plate. Hugs Barb

    1. It would have been so fun to have you there too, Barb!!!!! You would get the thrill of touching the edge of the NA plate! Have a good one! Hugs!

  5. That is way cool. I've never heard of it, but now I want to see it for myself. Thank you for the introduction.


    1. Thanks Janie! And I want to go back! Have a happy evening!

  6. Crazy fun! And you touched the North American plate!!! How cool is that!?!

    1. It was crazy fun, Terry! On my next trip to Iceland, I want to go to the shore where the Mid-Atlantic Ridges emerges from the water. And there's a place where you can currently go down inside the throat of a volcano on ropes. And, and, and!!!!! I hope you are enjoying the day. Say hi to Paj and Reg for me!

  7. Wow, that is some hot water. With all of that it sure doesn't live up to its name which makes it sound barren and full of ice haha

    1. There is lots of barren rock and and glacial ice, Pat! Just not in that lovely, warm lagoonal water. The country is beautiful, in a harsh and challenging way ~ but what a place for a rockhound like me. Have a good one!

  8. OHMYGOSH...how fascinating. And exciting! This is such an amazing trip. I'm green with envy! But also so happy for you. Thank you for sharing this incredible experience and all the beautiful photos. SO cool!

    1. Hi Martha! I do think it's so cool to go to Iceland. I'm glad that you enjoyed hearing about our trip. Have a great day!

  9. I hope to see the Blue Lagoon for myself sometime soon! Within the next couple of years, if all goes well?

  10. Fantastic stuff, Fundy!
    I really felt like I was there with you!
    Darn..... You forgot to take an egg to it boil and see for yourself?????!!!!
    Ok, not a very practical item to carry around, I bet!!
    I hope the Icelanders won't have to suffer bad earthquakes and volcano activities but on the long run the island's future seems compromised :(
    You must have had a wonderful time discovering this country!
    Hugs from France, keep well!

  11. Thank you, Noushka! Next time I will get an egg cooked in a hot pool! Icelanders have been dealing with fire and ice for over a thousand years, so I'm betting on them. There is an elaborate warning system and evacuation routes are in place. All the tour operators have vehicles equipped with an automatic eruption alert and have alternate escape routes planned ~ or so our guide explained to us when we were skirting Mt. Hekla, a young and active volcano. Nothing is guaranteed, of course! LOL! Hugs back to you!

  12. Wow. That is so cool! I've been to natural springs in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, but this one looks so much more beautiful. Was it smelly?

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

    1. Hi Crystal! No, it wasn't smelly ~ more silica than sulphur! I love dipping in warm natural springs. Happy Wednesday!

  13. What a wonderful trip and thanks for the explanation. I used to swim (take a dip) in the hot springs in the Yukon when I lived there but never found out how they got 'hot' . I'm assuming it must be the same idea. Glad you shared this!!

  14. Thank you, Francie! Hot springs are heated by geothermal heat, but Iceland takes that to a new level! I love soaking in hot springs! Never had a chance to do it in the Yukon though. That sounds so cool! Have a good one!

  15. Thanks for the history lessons! Think I'll follow along, if that's OK with you.

    1. I'm delighted to have you follow along, Ian! You made my day! I hope yours is great!

  16. I would love to visit Iceland within the next two years :)

    1. I hope you do, Keith! I bet that you and Beate would really enjoy it. And it's great that Iceland Air has easy flights to North America and the Continent. Have a happy day!

  17. WOW! What a supremely interesting post! (I like rocks too.) The Blue Lagoon looks wonderful and relaxing - you must have felt as limp as a rag when you came out.

    Have to tell you - in the "E-P checks a map" photo I thought for a second that he was wearing his jeans fashionably low-slung so as to give a glimpse of his tidy whities. But on second glance it was just his shirttail hanging down. :D

    What gorgeous purple flowers in that last photo. Are they some kind of anemone?

    1. Hi Sue! LOL! I had to go back and look at the photo again ~ and you're right! It could be interpreted that way! Too funny! I don't know what kind of flower the purple one is. I was so excited about the rocks that I didn't get a close-up like I normally would. I tried to search for it, but couldn't find it. Now you've got me curious! Have a good evening.

  18. SO awesome, Louise! You know Iceland is my dream trip. I was drooling while I was reading this post. One day..... Hope you're well! Happy November!

    1. Hi Audrey! I'm glad you caught this post! I was thinking of you in Iceland and when I wrote the post! You'll get there, and you'll love it! Happy November to you too!


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