I was leading a group of 24 lucky souls from September 10 to 21 on a fairly comprehensive journey to the west, north and south sides of the island. I visited many new places, even though I have been to Iceland many times before. The Smithsonian offers really great itineraries at reasonable prices. This posting will have two parts.
I will also be reporting from the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver the week of September 25.
Entablature cooling features in basalt on the Arnarstapi cliffs. When basalt lava cools, the upper part of the lava flow may cool in the presence of water, causing the joints to form radiating patterns. The lower, unwatered portion of the flow forms straight sided columns known as the colonnade.
hákarl, fermented shark meat. Much was made of the "delicacy before we arrived at the shark museum. (Check out the link above for the full details).
brennivin. One can understand the need for the brennivin after sampling the hákarl.
hot spot. Here is a view some of the layers of lava, which began to appear above sea level beginning some 16 to 17 Ma. Interbedded with these volcanic rocks are lacustrine (lake) and fluvial (river) sedimentary deposits, representing periods of time of volcanic quiescence. Within these sedimentary rocks petrified wood of maple, beech and birch are found, as well as some mammal species. This shows that pre-glacial Iceland contained a rich tapestry of forests.
Vioimyrarkirkja Church, built in the 19th Century. However, Iceland has a detailed human history that stretches back to the year 871 CE (Common Era), when Viking pioneers set out from Norway and/or Scotland to colonize the island. Irish monks were likely already here living a life of solitude and contemplation. The Book of Settlement was written in the 12th Century and generally describes the people and history of Iceland's early days. A church at this spot has been in existence since the 11th Century.
Akureryi, is beautifully located along one of the northern fjords. You can see we had great weather which is not always the case here.
Jökulsá á Fjöllum river, the second largest in Iceland. This river originates from the Vatnajökull glacier to the south of here.
Dimmuborgir. These formed when steam rose up in fumaroles through a lava lake - solidifying the tubes ofd the fumaroles. Amazing place!