Location: Geothermal area of Mt. Námafjall in northeastern Iceland.
Inactive steam vents such as these, as well as active ones, are found throughout the geothermal area of Mt. Námafjall in northeastern Iceland. Steam vents form when rainwater and snowmelt seep into hot volcanic rocks in the Earth’s crust. The process leaves colourful chemical deposits on the vents’ surface. This image is one of 41 photographs taken by Feodor Pitcairn on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s new exhibition, “Primordial Landscapes: Iceland Revealed.”