Iceland is geologically young. Formed mainly by active volcanoes and shaped by its position on the divergent boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the North American Plate, Iceland is being pushed up from below, and torn in half along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The first hints of Iceland began to appear over the ocean surface between 16 and 18 million years ago.
Today Iceland is dotted with active volcanoes and geothermal vents and rocked by earthquakes. Its newest offshore island is Surtsey, which rose above the ocean surface after a series of eruptions in the 1960s. One of the most recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland was 2010s Eyjafjallajökull eruption, which caused worldwide air travel disruptions, but fortunately no major destruction and no loss of life.
One side effect of this geological activity is the geothermal energy that island residents have used for centuries for everything from heating their homes to washing and cooking. As such, hot springs and hot pools, both natural and man-made, have become a significant part of life year-round in Iceland and among the main tourist draws on the island.
Reykjafjarðarlaug Hot Pool, a 20-minute drive southeast of the tiny village of Bildudalur in the Westfjords of Iceland, is one of Alex’s favorite spots to visit on the island. “We were here in the Westfjords in the middle of the summer passing through. We were resting after a long day of driving. This location is one of my favorites to just splash around in. I love the view here. And by the way, this is 4 a.m. In the summer we have 24 hours of sunlight for a while. It’s my favorite time of year!”