What’s the difference between Geysir in Iceland and Old faithful in Yellowstone?

Geysir and Old faithful are both very famous attractions. Geysir, after all, is the namesake of all geysers.
July 14, 2017
Lilja Þorsteinsdóttir

Geysir and Old faithful are both very famous attractions. Geysir, after all, is the namesake of all geysers. And Old faithful is visited by millions of people each year.

Geysir and his sibling, Strokkur

What most people don’t know, is that the original Geysir is now dormant. His “little brother”, Strokkur, is right next to him and is very much active. So, travelers still go to the Geysir area in Haukadalur valley to see Strokkur spout water and steam into the air, since they’re located in the same thermal field. It’s very impressive although he’s not as powerful as the original Geysir.

Strokkur erupting
Strokkur erupting

Old faithful in Yellowstone park

Named in 1870, Old faithful is a very predictable geyser that erupts every 60-90 minutes. It was named by the Washburn Expedition that was the first official expedition to Yellowstone park. They were impressed by the predictability and size of the eruptions, hence the name.  

Old Faithful erupting in Yellowstone Park
Old Faithful in Yellowstone erupting

So, what’s the difference between the two geysers?

Although they’re very similar, the two geysers have features that set them apart:

·         Strokkur is a fountain geyser. That means it erupts from a pool of water. But Old faithful is a cone geyser. That means it erupts from a cone or a mound of siliceous sinter.

·         Strokkur erupts every 6-10 minutes, but Old faithful normally erupts every 60-90 minutes.

·         Strokkur eruptions last for a few seconds while Old faithful erupts for 3-10 minutes.

·         Strokkur eruptions reach up to 40 meters in height, normally 15-20 meters. Old faithful’s eruptions reach up 32-56 meters.


Which one of the geysers is better?

We’re not impartial, so of course we like to think it’s Strokkur! Although Strokkur’s eruptions don’t last for as long, they’re more powerful and frequent. Of course we also love the fact that it is part of the golden circle. It’s a matter of opinion though, and we don’t think it’s fair to compare two beautiful natural wonders.  

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At Travel Reykjavik, we realise that booking a trip can be a confusing process. You might have specific questions or requests. Feel free to drop us a line and we´ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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