Saturday, August 14, 2021

Final Thoughts on Leaving Iceland 2021

An Arctic tern. on fencepost in southwest Iceland

What a trip! We were not strictly limited to an itinerary made months in advance. We had a framework of stops but while on the ground, we often made on-the-spot decisions to 'turn here' or 'go there.'

There is turmoil in the USA about masks and vaccines. We felt very comforted in Iceland as 91% of the population over 16 years of age is fully vaccinated. Mask-wearing is non-contentious. Those numbers are based on medical criteria and not some contrived political point. 100% of all visitors are either fully vaccinated or recovered fully from the virus. Our largest exposure to the virus in all of our travels were the domestic flights we made in the USA. How odd is that for the richest country in the world.

The Arctic tern has the longest migration of any animal - 12,000 miles going from the Arctic to Argentina

Many have expressed to me a desire to go to Iceland. Be aware it is very expensive. And the weather is often rainy or cloudy or foggy. To the geologist, it is an unequalled laboratory of volcanism, glaciation, landslides, and catastrophism. Go!

I must also thank my two hosts and travel partners, John and Chris. They were wonderful companions and their enthusiasm for what we saw and experienced along the way pushed me to deliver more of the same. Thank you!

We made a few last stops at the southwest corner of the island. The geology was outstanding. Thank you for reading.

(Some have asked if we visited the volcano that is erupting. We did drive by the parking that has ben established and spoke with those who had hiked to it that day. Apparently, nothing was happening at that time. However, to read an excellent account of the eruption in The New Yorker Magazine, see here). 

The southwestern tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula. View to the southwest.

The peninsula is constructed along the mid-ocean rift and there is much geothermal activity. 

The sign at the Bridge Between Continents was an excellent geologic stop for us that was spontaneous.

A view of the Bridge Between Continents with young pahoehoe lava textures in the foreground.

Sign on the Eurasian side of the bridge. I thought the text included was quite interesting - not necessarily geologic on the whole. I think this technique works well to help non-geologists stay engaged with the site and the larger geologic story that the bridge represents.

And the equivalent sign on the North American side. Again, the information displayed was thoughtful.

An excellent final shot from my July 25-August 5 trip to Iceland - a rifted valley as it extends away from the photographer and into the North Atlantic Ocean. Iceland rocks!


  1. Wonderful photos and text, Wayne. It definitely sounds like a fabulous trip - thanks for sharing the highlights!

  2. Hi, This is John and Chris, the extremely fortunate and blessed travelers with Wayne on this trip! We wish we could express how grateful we are to Wayne and God for putting this together. Wayne has an incredible wealth of knowledge on geology and life, as well as an absolute joy to be with, so engaging and thoughtful! Thank you, Wayne, for this trip of a lifetime! John & Chris

    1. Thank you for your comment Chris. You and John were such fantastic travelers and I thoroughly enjoyed all 11 days being with you both. May our paths cross again somewhere beautiful, somewhere fun.


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