Well, it’s not actually Mars. But, Namafjall Hverir geothermal area does feel like a whole other planet.
Namafjall Hverir geothermal area is one of the most intriguing places I’ve ever visited. We saw it right from the roadside of the Ring Road, the main highway of Iceland: uneven ground, riddled with fissures across the red rock. A robust mountain watched over the squat fumaroles, venting steam up into the air. Gaping gray holes bubbled and gurgled hot mud endlessly. Of course, we had to examine this scene more closely.
NAMAFJALL HVERIR GEOTHERMAL AREA
Namafjall is the mountain overlooking Hverir, a geothermal area with boiling mudpots and fumaroles. At a depth of 1000m, the temperature at Hverir is above 200 degrees Celsius. There’s a characteristic sulfur smell from the fumarole gas. Don’t worry, it isn’t too overpowering!
As the ground gets quite hot and the mudpots bubble up in the area, it’s advised that you stick to the trails. Don’t venture beyond the roped off areas. It’s for your own safety and to preserve the landscape.
The terrain and the scenery are surreal. The cracked ground boasts shades of red, green, yellow, and white. The steam slightly obscures the barren surroundings. There are several impressive features that makes a trip to Namafjall Hverir geothermal area incredibly worthwhile.
Namafjall mountain looms in the distance. The ground is covered in mineral deposits of various colors. As we walked around the path, we discovered the distinctive mudpots, fumaroles, and fissures that make this area so special. Namafjall Hverir geothermal area isn’t that big, and it won’t take you too long to explore the entire place. Allow yourself a half hour to an hour to absorb the surroundings and snap a few photos.
Mudpots form in high-temperature geothermal areas where there isn’t much water. They gurgle and bubble slightly outside their craters, leaving gray and white slurry around the edges. These mudpots are very fascinating and I closely examined each one as I walked past.
Fumaroles were the most intriguing element of Namafjall Hverir geothermal area. These openings in the earth’s crust emit sulfuric gases. Fumaroles often exist in volcanic regions along cracks or fissures in the ground. It was almost hypnotizing to watch the clouds of smoke emanate from these vents.
Namafjall Hverir geothermal area really does feel like stepping foot on Mars or another planet. It’s no wonder that American astronauts used Iceland as a training ground to prepare them for travel to the Moon. Here are some more photographs to fuel your wanderlust to visit this natural phenomenon in Iceland.
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Namafjell Hverir geothermal area is located just outside the town of Reykjahlíð, on Lake Myvatn. I highly recommend that you visit this place on your travels to the Lake Myvatn region. It’s easy to visit as it’s right on the Ring Road. There’s a large parking lot. I recommend that you visit later in the afternoon or evening as you have a better chance of visiting without any tour buses. We went around 7:00pm and shared the site with only a few other people.
While the sulfuric smell may bother some delicate senses of smell, we found the midge flies to be way more bothersome. I’m not sure if there are less flies depending on the time of year that you visit. The midge flies in the Lake Myvatn area are numerous and move in large swarms. We visited in early June and didn’t stay as long at this site due to the huge amounts of flies. The only way to avoid them was to keep moving. It was difficult to stop and take pictures while being attacked by bugs! I highly recommend bringing a scarf to minimize the amount of flies that you eat as you walk around.
As this is a natural attraction, it’s not monitored and it’s open 24 hours a day. There is no entrance fee.
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Have you traveled to any geothermal regions in the world?