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View of the Haukadalur valley from Laugarfjall
Haukadalur is home to some of the most famous sights in Iceland: the geysers and other geothermal features which have developed on the Laugarfjall rhyolitic dome. The biggest geysers of Haukadalur are Strokkur and Geysir itself, which gave us the word 'geyser'. Strokkur is very dependable and erupts every 5 to 10 minutes, whereas the bigger Geysir nowadays erupts very rarely. There are also more than 40 other smaller hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles nearby.
Haukadalur geothermal area was first mentioned in written sources going back to 1294, when the local hot springs were activated by an earthquake. Earthquakes are also known to have activated local geysers in the recent past, including the earthquakes that occurred on 17 and 21 July 2000. Due to the geysers the valley has been a popular tourist attraction since the 18th century.
The Gullfoss waterfall is about 10 km to the north in the direction of the Highlands of Iceland, via the beginning of the Kjölur highland road. Along with Gullfoss and Þingvellir, Haukadalur is part of the Golden Circle.