A gruelling early morning start was the first stage of our Iceland adventure. We flew into Keflavick International airport and within minutes we were making our way to the Blue Lagoon for a geothermal experience like no other. The pool was extraordinary from the ice drinks to the smell of rotten eggs from the sulphur gas and rather hot areas of the pool that made you feel like you were being boiled alive! The landscape was surrounded by vesicular lava that showed just how gassy the eruptions can be.
Our guide showed us the drying of fish heads that are exported all across the world for numerous uses including dried fish crisps! These did indeed have an unusual texture even when accompanied by tomato sauce! Maddie and Natalie were not convinced they would be a hit in England.
The scenery was sparse and un-earthly with lava fields aplenty and many pingos in the peri-glacial areas. The waterfalls viewed were fantastic especially Seljalandsfoss which you can walk behind and even take a clothed shower in. Tori found the only leak was her elbow seam; amazing considering the waterfall was at full capacity. The other waterfall of interest with its own 400 stepped stairway to heaven was naturally beautiful and a joy to have our lunch near. Again an amazing site, when standing on the platform at the top you overlooked the fall itself and felt tremendous.
The Geyser Park was like nowhere on earth, from the surface rivers that were flowing and boiling on the surface of a lava field, to the continental crust that you could see the thickness of. We marvelled at the ability to look partly into the core of the earth.
Our students were in awe at the force of the water and the pressure that exists beneath such a thin continental crust. We were slightly concerned that the crust was brittle and therefore highly dangerous in places. All those minutes spent waiting for the Big Geyser to go off was well worth it.
Bowling the second evening was good fun and allowed many to show off hidden talents. There were some funny fashion discussions with George Bush attending, but the American themed evening didn’t last long before our final day in the field.
The Icelandic Coastline was an inspirational location. The Basalt columns at Reynirsfjara Beach were magnificent and the waves stretching across a 11,000km fetch huge! The energy and power within these was awesome.
Thankfully no one was swept away, not unheard of as 15ft waves are common! The Eyjajallajokull site was wonderful to see the differences before and after the eruption especially. Stuart showed us images before and after the event along with the pyroclastic flows that remain after.
Student responses have been wonderfully supportive, with;
‘A once in a lifetime opportunity, loved the spatter cone volcano’
‘we saw some amazing sites, totally fantastic’
A thoroughly enjoyable time had by staff and students and one we hope to do again in the future, next time we hope to see an active eruption.