Myvatn -- Midge Lake

Myvatn is an active geothermal area with volcanic craters and mud flats, new (geologically speaking) lava fields, and grassy shoals teeming with waterfowl. It is called Midge Lake because of gnats that breed in the shallow waters, but they support some of the best trout and salmon fishing in Iceland. There are also 15 species of duck in the area. [jwz]

This is a panoramic view of the power station (right of the road) and its hot water (steam) wells. [dwb]
Just north of the power station is this crater. The view is looking to the East. [dwb]
Looking in the opposite direction from the crater (to the West) there are three interesting facts to see.
  • To the left is the volcano Leirhnjukur, that was active in the years 1975-1984. There were 9 eruptions during those years, and it is the longest time a volcano has been active in historical time in Iceland. Leirhnjukur had also earlier record as it was active throughout the years from 1724 to 1729.
  • To the right a black lava flow from the eruptions in Leirhnjukur in the 70s and 80s.
  • In Iceland the geologic plates of Europe and North American are joined and come to the surface. These plates are still drifting away from each other. This picture was taken on Europe plate. The mountain in the background is on the American plate. [dwb]

The Myvatn Mud Flats and Bubbling Pots


This is a sample of the action.

This is the best seat in the house.

An ultra-light airplane was enjoying the scenery. [dwb]

Nearby are Strange Lava Formations

An ancient swimming cave. There are two entrances. They are said to be one for men and one for women, but are connected underwater. The water temperature has changed over the years and is now 50°C, so no more swimming. [jwz] [jwz]
With a little imagination you can find several faces. [dwb] What Icelandic animal is this? [dwb]
More faces. A heated discussion? [dwb]

About the Krafka Power Station

Close up of the Power Station.
Note the steam pipe gate over the road. [jwz]
A hot water (steam) well head. [jwz]

Exploratory drilling for harnessing geothermal steam began in the Krafka area in 1974. Drilling of production wells, construction of the power station and erection of the 132 kV transmission line to Akureyri, commenced in the Summer of 1975. Design of the power house and other buildings was based two 30 MW turbines.

The first turbine, which went on line in August 1977, was initially operated at reduced capacity, but has been in recent years operated at full capacity, except for a few months in the Summer.

The largest part of the geothermal reservoir is at the boiling point. The maximum recorded temperature is 350°C at a depth of 2000 m. The depths of the production wells differ from about 1000 m for low pressure wells to 2000 m for high pressure wells. The deepest well is 2222 m.

Until about 1978 magmatic gasses flowed into the geothermal reservoirs destroying wells due to corrosion of the casings. These magmatic effects are now on the wane.

Note: This information was extracted from an information photo taken by Jim.

Photo Credits:
[jwz] Jim Ziebol, [dwb] Dave Bray.

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