these are the posts tagged ‘geography’:


geysers!

and speaking of hot water, did you know that the word for geyser actually comes from geysir, a famous icelandic geyser? (according to wikipedia, the word geysa means “to gush” in icelandic.)

IMG_3325

geysers are a rare occurrence in the world, and notably temperamental, being affected by earthquakes which can trigger or make them go away. the science is complicated but the simplified mechanics resemble those of a pressure cooker… water gets superheated, pressure builds up, and then steam and water get released!

though the original geysir rarely erupts these days, its neighbour strokkur delights tourists every few minutes with an awe-inducing show of strength. due to the variable time between eruptions and how sudden they are, it’s hard to catch on a photo, but with some patience and space on your phone…

…magic! :)

hot water

did you know that iceland runs almost entirely on renewable energies, every single day? true story. between geothermal, hydropower and a little wind, the electricity generated is more than enough to power the whole country. the hot water also takes care of showers, heating houses, swimming pools and even the roads in winter. they still import oil for running vehicles and boats… but with the rise of electric cars, who knows? they might be 100% renewable in a few years, which is nothing short of amazing.

on a roadtrip in the island, we stopped in deildartunguhver to see one of the springs where the hot water comes from. it’s just a humble crack in some rocks… and yet, boiling water gushes upwards from it at the astonishing rate of 180 liters per second — the highest flow of any hot sprint in europe. whoa!

Deildartunguhver

Deildartunguhver

they pipe this water in a nearby facility and deliver it to households in a 65km radius. the leftovers get dumped on a nearby river, the steam making everything rather cinematic :)

Deildartunguhver

Deildartunguhver

Deildartunguhver

the sulphur does make the water smell a bit like overcooked eggs, which is funny when you open the hot water tap,  but one quickly forgets it after jumping on the shower. it’s lovely not having to wait for water to heat up — it’s instantaneous and super hot.

Deildartunguhver

the best part of so much hot water? i’ll tell you in another post! :)

molten rock

having spent a couple of months going over daniela’s geology lessons in preparation for her national exams a few years ago, it all came rushing back to me in iceland. first, the black stones and sand that adorn residential gardens in reykjavik, and then later, out on the road.

the first lava field we drove by was a thrill of recognition, its spiky edges talking of semi-viscous, slow-moving a’a lava. then came the familiar slopes of old volcanos, the ropey waves of fluid pahoehoe lava, the neat geometrical columns formed by the quick cooling of basaltic lava…

all so familiar in theory, and yet, so foreign in practice.

volcanoes in iceland

volcanoes in iceland
volcanoes in iceland

volcanoes in iceland

volcanoes in iceland

volcanoes in iceland

volcanoes in iceland

in a different life, i think i could have been a geologist!

poor postman pat!

did you know the most common name for a city in the world is “oktjabrskij”? or that there are 11 cities named “springfield” in the usa, and another 11 named “clinton”? :)

here’s a ranking of the top-20 most frequent names of cities, freshly squeezed from postcrossing‘s database (might not be totally accurate):

City name      Country     Total of cities    
Oktjabrskij Russia 23
Springfield USA 11
Clinton USA 11
Pervomajskij Russia 11
Neustadt Germany 9
Madison USA 8
Hidalgo Mexico 8
Komsomolskij Russia 8
Washington USA 8
Lebanon USA 8
Shāhpur India 8
Dmytrivka Ukraine 7
Kamenka Russia 7
Auburn USA 7
Burlington USA 7
Greenville USA 7
Viişoara Romania 7
Áyios Dimítrios Greece 7
Troickoje Russia 7
Farmington USA 7

impressive redundancy if you ask me, but then again, except maybe a couple of countries, all the others on this list are pretty big… perhaps they just ran out of imagination?

anyway, there you go: one more reason never to forget the zip code! 8-)