Hverir – we are going to Mars

          Somewhere from afar clouds of smoke raising from the ground are visible. My first thought- ‘something is burning’.  Yet after a while an intensive smell of sulphur comes to me (it doesn’t belong to the most pleasant smells though it is quite bearable- the first sensation is a smell of rotten eggs). The ground seems to be so delicate as it was supposed to go off in a moment. The honey-brownish landscape is covered with white-blueish dripstones. It looks like a shell that will crack very soon. In the geothermal area of Hverir you can truly feel the breath and heartbeat of Earth. Its every smallest reaction appears through the boiling of the springs, intenstive colours of the ground or the hazy vapours. You must pay attention here not to step on the forbidden area and possibly burn yourself. On the deph of 1000m the water temperature exceeds 200°C. Nothing would miss in this cosmic landscape if we put a spaceship somewhere in the background.This phenomenon is the best seen from the Namafjall mountain- the way on it does not require a big effort.

How does it work?

Cold groud water seeps down to magma intrusions, where it is heated and transformered into steam, and then it comes back to the surface. Along with the steam comes fumarole gas which contains sulphur hydroxide which is responsible for the hot spring smell. In hot spring areas, sulphur deposits are formed when fumarole gas mixes with air. Besides the sulphur deposits, a mixture of silica and gypsum forms around the fumaroles. In mud pots, fumarole gas rises through surface water, producing sulphuric acid which makes the water acid. Rock and soil dissolve in this acid water, producing the mud which is typical of mud pots and their surroundings.

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