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Hot Springs in an Icy Land

Iceland is a volcanic island on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rift zone, and the country's volcanic base contributes to its geothermal activity.

This activity underneath the Earth's surface makes Iceland richer in hot springs and high-temperature activity than any other country in the world. This otherwise cold country has about 250 geothermal areas producing 800 hot springs with an average water temperature of around 75C / 167F.

Some of the hot springs spout springs or geysers, the most famous being Geysir in south Iceland, from which the international word "geyser" is derived. It ejects a water column to a height of about 180 feet.

The word "geothermal" comes from the Greek words "geo" (earth) and "therme" (heat). Like the Sun, the Earth's interior provides natural pollution-free heat energy!

Even the earliest settlers (9th century) took advantage of this abundant source of heat - crops were planted in naturally-heated ground for rapid growth and an early harvest in the short growing season.

Today, geothermal energy heats about 85% of Iceland's homes as well as greenhouses where a variety of plants are grown (even tropical fruits). The capital city of Reykjavik ("Bay of Steam") pipes hot water to every house - and it's cheaper than supplying cold water!

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