Iceland has a plentiful supply of geothermal energy and pools and hot springs are widely spread around the country. Some of the hot springs gush, of which "Geysir" in Haukadalur is the most famous. Indeed, the international concept of a geyser is drawn from the name of this hot spring.
The most voluminous hot spring in Europe, the "Deildartunguhver" in Borgarfjöršur, produces 180 litres of hot water (97°C) per second. It provides the hot water that is used to heat houses in Akranes and Borgarnes.
This kind of hot water supply is now used widely throughout Iceland, providing 80% of the population with hot water for washing and central heating. Geothermal heat is also used for cultivation purposes. Greenhouses are heated by geothermal energy, where various varieties of fruit and vegetables are grown, for instance tomatoes, cucumbers, even bananas, as well as all kinds of plant life. Geothermal heat is sometimes used for fish farming.
From the earliest times, hot pools and spring water have been used to wash and bathe. For instance, "Snorralaug" in Reykholt is thought to have been built during the thirteenth-century on the initiative of the chieftain Snorri Sturluson.
The largest swimming pool in Reykjavķk, Laugardalslaug, is located by the "Washing Pools", that is "Žvottalaugarnar", where the women of Reykjavķk once washed their laundry. This was before hot water was supplied to houses, and it was the hot water around the "Žvottalaugarnar" that, in 1928, was first used for central heating.
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