Our Smithsonian Journey's Adventure in northern Iceland continues with a trip to the fishing village of Husvik.
Jökulsárgljúfur National Park, the area now incorporated into the larger Vatanjökull National Park.
Hljóðaklettar (Rock of Echoes). Something astounding was to be learned here.
Jökulsá á Fjöllum (Dettifoss is only eight miles upstream from here but were approached this area from a totally different area). What is shown here at Hljóðaklettar is a dissected and greatly eroded subglacial volcano that was then torn asunder by not one, but three glacial outburst floods, known in Iceland (and now worldwide) as jökulhlaups (literally, glacial pools). The sequence of events here: 1) the pillars of columnated basalt were the vents of volcanoes that erupted beneath the former ice sheet that covered the island during the last Ice Age; 2) after glacial retreat here, other subglacial volcanoes erupted beneath the Vatanjökull glacier to the north; 3) those eruptions produced subglacial lakes that catastrophically drained, sending three huge outburst floods downstream, ripping apart the cores of the local volcanoes and depositing huge volumes of outburst flood debris. Wow!
jökulhlaups. The floods likely overtopped the flat-lying mesa's and carved the shapes into them. The dry canyon seen ion the previous posting at Dettifoss also formed as a result of these jökulhlaups.
Þingvellir (the letter Þ in Icelandic is pronounced th so the English spelling of this would be Thingvellir, although the ll in Icelandic has a hard th sound as well. So Icelanders say the name of this place as THING-vedth-lear). It literally means assembly field since this is where Europe's first national parliament met in in the year 930 CE. I think people would come to this beautiful place just for that reason alone but the location of the crowded walk also marks the rifted axis of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, there the North American plate (right) is becoming separated from the Eurasian plate (left) and tour operators use this geologic fact to entice visitors as well Note how the lava surface on the left is tilted down showing that this block is in the process of "falling down" into the rifted opening. In time, lava will be erupted out over this giant crack, filling in the space. But eventually that too will become rifted again - it's been going on for about 180 million years in this fashion. But the beauty of Iceland is that for the last 16 million years, this has been happening above sea level. The rest of the rift is under 15,000 feet of water and virtually off limits to viewing.
Þingvellir and Geysir (not included in this posting due to poor lighting on this trip). But after visiting Hljóðaklettar earlier on this trip, I was able to spot something here and I had never noticed before and is not mentioned at all to visitors here.
This is the same photo but I have highlighted a large deposit of coarse gravel and boulders that appears to be another jökulhlaup or outburst flood deposit. The whole island is a geologic laboratory!
Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced EH-ya-fedth-a-YO-kuhl). It is best to just look at the link provided to learn about the eruption of the volcano. If you want to learn more about the family run farm that has this exhibit, click here.
Skogafoss waterfall near Iceland's south coast.
Sólheimajökull glacier is called Europe's incredibly shrinking glacier as it has retreated one full kilometer up the valley in only 9 years. See below.
Sólheimajökull glacier. This photo is from 2007. The next one is from 2015 from the same place.
Sólheimajökull glacier in 2015. My photo of the glacier two photos above was taken along the far wall next to the lagoon.
The dome is a landmark within the city and the glass building is supported by six geothermal tanks, each with a capacity of one million gallons. The dome houses a revolving restaurant, a small café, and an outdoors observation platform with panoramic views of the city and the bay.
ði House, where Ronald Reagan and Mikail Gorbachov met in October, 1986. This meeting is said to have begun the end of the Cold War, or at least it ended the first phase of the Cold War.
My next postings will be soon and I will be reporting from the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America held in Denver. Thanks for reading.