The Geyser Strokkur Captured One Second Before Eruption

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This beautiful photo by Tatyana Kildisheva shows a surreal scene: gas apparently glowing inside water inside the Icelandic geyser Strokkur, just one second before it erupted. How did she do it? Easy, she told me:

The process for timing the shot was very simple: just sit, wait, and have a good reaction to press the shutter button fast. I did not have my tripod and camera remote control with me.


Good timing is everything indeed, but the result—taken with an Olympus E-510 camera at ISO 200—is beautiful, almost outworldly.

Located in the geothermal area beside the Hvítá River, east of Reykjavik, Strokkur fires every 4 to 8 minutes, reaching 65-foot heights, sometimes even going up to 131 feet (40 meters). It was blocked in 1896, when an earthquake blocked it. In 1963, the icelanders cleaned the conduit and Strokkur has been happily puffing ever since.

Photo by Tatyana Kildisheva used under permission.


Matthew Poat

It's in the same geothermal fields as the original "Geyser" which sadly does not erupt anymore from years of tour guides chucking bucket loads of soapy water down it and clogging it up. Sometimes it erupts spontaniously scaring the shit out of everyone because it is so rare and so much larger then the Strokkur eruptions.

After clumping around the geothermal site for an hour during my trip to Iceland last year, my trainers were caked in mud. I took the decision to swill my foot in Strokkur's wash (the slight overflow which does not sink back down to the centre of the earth but runs in a shallow stream into another geothermal pool). It was a bad mistake. The sole of my trainers transmitted the heat to my foot as if they weren't even there.