One of the guided tours we booked through Viator.com prior to coming to Iceland was the Golden circle tour leaving at 4:15pm and lasting 5 hours.    We saw four main attractions on this trip that were important geologically to Iceland.

  • THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK
    • It is the largest lake in Iceland
    • It was originally used by the viking parliament when laws and rules needed to be passed
    • it is still used currently by parliament every 5 years when the whole island gathers to vote for a new Prime thingvellir lakeMinister (like our president) and President (like our vice president) and to vote for or against new laws.
    • The house (yes one house with five sharply angled roofs) you see in my photographs belongs to the president, but he never uses it because there is no privacy.
    • Icelanders often gather here during the summer months for specific festivals as well
    • On our drive over, the driver explained that Reykjavik was on the North American tectonic plate and Thingvellir was on the Eurasian tectonic plate.   Iceland was formed by these two plates pulling apart.
  • GULFOSS WATERFALL
    • It is called the “golden waterfall” because on very sunny days the water can look golden down into the fjord and it produces two rainbows
    • it is fed by 1100 gallons of water per minute from the melting glacier Langjokull, that will be entirely melted in gulfoss waterfall150 years. 
    • Sigríður Tómasdóttir, owner of the farm nearest the waterfall, felt so strongly about not allowing a hydroelectric plant to be built across the falls~ thus ruining their beauty forever~ that she went on a barefoot protest walk from Gulfoss to Reykjavik.  Here pleas were then taken seriously and a law was passed that the falls are never to have a plant built on them .
    • The tour name “the golden circle” is named because the “golden waterfall” is the farthest point in the circular route made to and from Reykjavik.
  • THE STROKKUR AND GEYSIR HOT SPRINGS
    • We Americans use the word geyser to describe hot water spouting from the ground as in Yellowstone national park.  However, the word geysir {gayseerh} was actually first the name of a giant hot spring spout in Iceland that would erupt every 60 minutes until it was ruined by people putting objects into the spout, wanting to watch it be blown out – but eventually clogging it.
    •  There are many spouts near the giant hot spring spout.  The second largest is named Strokkur {Strawkerh} and is still active today. It is said to go off every 8-10 minutes and went off three times when we were there for the allotted 30 minutes on the tour.
  • KERID CRATER LAKE
    • A crater in the middle of a group of hills
    • Many volcanologists originally thought this crater was formed by a volcanic explosion.  However, it actually  was kerid crater lakecreated  by  a cone volcano emptying its lava pool, causing the hill to implode,  and allowing water from the water table to enter into the chamber creating the lake.
    • The water is not caused by rainfall
    • The Icelandic singer, Bjork, held a concert on a floating platform in the middle of the lake

All in all it was a beautiful and interesting tour.  We came back very happy… and tired. 🙂

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