The Land of Fire and Ice
Situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and at the edge of the Arctic Circle, Iceland gently nestles. The country is literally being torn apart by powerful tectonic forces and what better place to experience eerie volcanic landscapes and stunning glaciers?
The highlights of the 5 day adventure included:
Thingvellir National Park
This National Park is one of the most important sites in Iceland,(historically and geographically). Nowhere else in Iceland is the rift between the European and North American plates more obvious, with long deep cracks running across the landscape giving the appearance of a crevassed glacier.
Efsti-dalu-ll - Ice Cream Farm
This small family run farm has thrived and has been in the family since 1850. The main occupations are horse breeding and cattle farming and the milk produced by the cows are used to produce their very own home-made ice cream which is sold in the barn.
Students enjoyed watching the Strokkur Geysir erupt every 6 – 8 minutes with its boiling water and steam emerging from the ground and shooting a spout skyward to a height of 15-18 metres.
This ‘Golden’ waterfall is the island’s most famous one. It is located on the mighty glacial river Hvita. The enormous white glacial cascade drops a thunderous 32 metres into a narrow canyon with is 70 metres deep and 2.5km long. Its spectacular two-tiered cataract hangs in the aire like a fine drizzle, which is turns forms a rainbow in the sunlight.
The explosion crater Kerio is ht enorthernmost one of a crater row called Tjarnarholar, which together with the surrounding lava fields dates back 6000 years.
Hellisheioi Power Plant
The Hellisheioi Geothermal Power Plant began producing electricity in 2006.
Hveragerdi … A self guided walk to take in the sights of the Geothermal Park and the 2008 Quake Exhibition and Shake House
Situated on a 5000 year old lava field, Hverageroi is an important stop to any Iceland visit. The town grew around the naturally occurring hot springs which allowed the settlers a constant source of hot water for space heating, cooking, baking and laundry. The geothermal energy was also harnessed for horticulture and is now a key sector of the local economy.
Gunnuhver Hot Springs
The mud pools and steam vents facing Kisilholl hill are collectively named Gunnuhver. They form where steam generated by boiling in a geothermal reservoir emanates and condenses and mixes with surface water. Accompanying gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide make the water acid, which causes alteration of the fresh lava rock to a clay.
The lighthouse was built in 1908 to replace the older one which suffered damaged during an earlier earthquake and erosion from the sea. The area is rich in birdlife and there is a memorial to the Great Auk, looking out to Eldey Island, believed to be the last known breeding ground of the Great Auk, and now home to a population of Gannets.
In the river Seljalandsa the Seljalandsfoss is a waterfall spilling from the high Basalt Cliffs, as a result of isostatic rebound of the landand its lava flows. It is 65 metres high with a footpath behind it at the bottom of the cliff, but with a thin cascade. It is the only known waterall of its kind, where it is possible to walk behind it.
Myths and legend surrounds this place. A 60metre high attraction, the waters thunder down into a pool below, huge amounts of spray react with the sunlight to create a myriad of rainbows.
This massive black glacier comes from the Myrdalsjokull icecap and is extremely impressive.
Another place surrounded by legend – the black basalt sands where columnar basalt nestles again the cliff face. According to legend the Reynisdrangar needles were formed when two trolls were trying to drag a three-mast ship to land. When daylight broke they turned to stone.
Eyjafjallajokull Visitor’s Centre
Following a volcanic eruption, this attraction opened in 2011. As a family run facility their goal is to give visitors a personal look at what it’s like to have a volcano at your back door!
This amazing lagoon is a unique, mineral-rich lake, formed from Geothermal sea water. Almost 6,000 000 tonnes of fluid, containing 2,000 tonnes of Silica are released into the lagoon each year. The blue-green algae and white Silica mud give the lagoon its milky, aquamarine colour and provide a natural source of minerals, which are renowned for their therapeutic properties.
Click here to view the images captured during this magical visit to the Land of Fire and Ice.