Iceland’s blue lagoon is man-made

  • The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most popular attraction.
  • Many consider mineral-rich waters to be a natural wonder, but they are actually man-made.
  • Water in the lagoon drains from a nearby geothermal power plant, built in 1974.

Iceland is so hot right now.

The island nation is definitely going through a time – in fact, its population of around 332,000 is typically outnumbered by the 1.8 million tourists who visit each year.

Of these 1.8 million annual tourists, the Blue Lagoon sees around 700,000, making it Iceland’s main attraction.

Most people come to Iceland to see its stunning natural sights, like waterfalls, geysers and glaciers, and most people think of the milky waters of the Blue Lagoon to be one of those sites.

However, these people are wrong: the geothermal pool is not really a natural phenomenon.

Known as the “Land of Fire and Ice” due to its geological activity (hence geysers, volcanoes and lava fields), 25% of the electricity used in Iceland is powered by geothermal energy.

To harness some of this geothermal energy, a local geothermal energy company created the Svartsengí geothermal power plant in 1974: a pool of Steaming milky blue water formed nearby as a by-product. People started flocking to this mineral-rich pool claiming it had healing powers, and in 1987 access became regulated and bathing facilities were built.

As a reminder: the lagoon is made from waste from a neighboring geothermal power station. Water, which is renewed every two days, is heated from a nearby lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity for surrounding towns. Only then is it introduced into the lagoon and part of one of the most famous spas in the world.

While Iceland is Full of natural hot springs, the Blue Lagoon is not one of them. The pool did not exist, but was simply a by-product of a different business enterprise and only later became a bustling business.

That said, water at around 100 ° F is filled with minerals like silica and sulfur, which would be great for the skin (but not so good for the hair), and worth a visit.

Whether natural or not, there’s a reason the Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s top attractions.

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