Friday, May 11, 2018

Day one out on the Ice Land

I hope we'll have two more days out driving. The land reminds me of the Yukon & Northwest Territories. 
Except. Except it's wet & volcanic.

It's been a late Spring here. On the mountains there's still lots of snow & the trees are just starting to leaf out.

We drove what's known as the Golden Circle. The main stopping places are a big waterfall which so far has been saved from hydro-electric-harnessing (but it was a big battle), a geyser site, & a tectonic rift zone that has 1000 year old history attached.

The look of the mountains here vary. Some are glacier-scored, some are very snowy, some seem sculpted.

The waterfalls, & there are many, this one is Gullfoss. It was really cold & windy there. Numbing.

Here's George being very cold.
Volcanic fields of rocks over time have been mossed over with lichen too. I kept on thinking of caribou food, but there were no mammals here at the beginning of settlement in the 800s. Now there are Icelandic ponies, lambs & cattle. We saw ponies & only a few sheep.
 This farmland is on the south coast of Iceland. This is the bread basket of the island. The farther east you go on that coast the more huge greenhouses are there,  all heated by volcanic steam heat. We are not going to go to that part of the island. We have had fresh lettuce every day from those greenhouses.
 Geologically I'm not sure what to call these holes, but I'm sure there's iron in that soil!

 We got lost this outing, & while we wrestled (George wrestled) with the g.p.s I got to see this marvelous collapsed greenhouse & thermal vents. Some places vents are harnessed & the steam is piped where it is needed! Heating is not a problem here.

Below volcanic rocks covered with what I liked to call moss pillows. Later these will turn jewel-green as summer comes.
 Grasses may envelop the whole thing!
I didn't take any exciting photos at the geyser site.

So on to the rift zone. Two continental plates are separating at the rate of 2 cm. a year. The gap is quite wide and has a river, lake, & had an old settlement in it.

Every summer in the old days for 2 weeks the clan leaders & their cohorts would gather for dispute resolutions & punishment decisions. Punishments  could be banishment, fines, condemnation. The early Icelanders were very litigious.

A waterfall plunges over the west wall of the rift from a river above.

I felt this space to be awe-inspiring.
These rocks are from the west wall of the rift.

And then The Law Rock, mentioned in the sagas. 
The rock-in-question was not put there.
Looking down, the look of ancient lava flow.
Basalt rock delightfully fractured below.
 The water from the falls here settles out into a gentle river in the rift valley.
As we drove away I caught this gap in the rocks. I have no idea what this gap 'means'.
That's it for now.


  1. The scenery on Iceland is some of the most austere and exciting we've seen. Your photos brought it all back.