Icelandic Fumeroles

Icelandic Fumeroles



Parts of Iceland are utterly alien; you might as well be on the moon.  Mud pots, fumaroles, geysers  …  one wrong step and you’re boiled (literally).  Námafjall  is a

high-temperature (dangerous:  80-100 C) geothermal area with fumaroles and mud pots.  Cold ground water seeps down to magma intrusions (Iceland is part of the volcanic “Ring of Fire”), where it is heated and transformed into steam and then comes back to the surface.  Along with the steam comes fumarole gas, which contains sulfur hydroxide responsible for that hot spring smell.  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 bubbles up like the witches brew in Macbeth.  In the same geothermal area is Geysir, the original blasting hot (100 C) water spout after which all other geysers around the world are named. And the colors are blue and brown, and sand and rust, and mustard and white, and charcoal and a kind of mauve.  Nothing green at all.  Though this painting is an abstract, you’d be amazed at how “realistic” it is.  


2012   Watercolor   Size: 7”x10”