Iceland made the news again this week, when a series of minor earthquakes ripped a fissure in the Earth’s crust resulting in a spectacular spewing of lava some 40km from the capital Reykjavik. This may sound like catastrophic news, but not for the Icelanders. Don’t get me wrong, they take these events very seriously but when you live on an island that is only 103 000 km², on the edge of the Artic Circle on massive tectonic plates and you are listed in the top 10 countries with active volcanoes, you either leave the island or you turn nature’s power to your advantage, and this is exactly what they have done.
Thanks to their ability to harness most of their power from geothermal energy, Iceland is considered as one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. They even use this energy to heat up the pavements and streets in Reykjavik to melt the snow. Ingeniously, they have also turned these natural phenomena into tourist attractions. Silfra fissure where the tectonic plates meet, is the only place that you can swim in the crystal clear waters between the two continents. Blue Lagoon, which has now become the iconic landmark for Iceland, is a man-made lake that is a result of one of the geothermal plants. You can eat “lava bread” a dense rye bread that is cooked in a milk cartoon using geothermal steam and under strict supervision, you can even visit an active volcanic eruption… the recent eruption included. Now that is what I call turning a negative into a positive !