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Exploring Iceland

A group of pupils in 4th-Sixth Form recently returned from a Geography Department trip to Iceland. It was a truly immersive experience which took in the breath-taking landscapes and unique terrain of the Nordic island nation.

During their visit the group had the opportunity to visit a number of spectacular locations including:

  • the ‘Bridge between Continents’ where a 15m footbridge spans a fissure between Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, providing the pupils with an opportunity to witness the effects of continental drift.
  • the Gunnuhver, which is a site with mud pools and steam vents where pupils viewed the vigorously bubbling Gunnuhve - Iceland’s largest mud pool with a diameter of 20m making the air full of steam and sulphur.
  • a range of waterfalls including Skógafoss with its wide and thundering 60m high curtain of water. Skógafoss is unique as it comes directly from two glaciers, Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull. The group were able to get close up to these waterfalls and thoroughly enjoyed getting soaked in the spray.
  • Sólheimajökull ‘sun house glacier’ which has been retreating since the end of the 19th century at a rate of around 100m per year. Sited in a scenic 8km long valley, from a safe distance, the pupils marvelled at the jumble of crevasses on the glacier’s surface and the chaos of stony moraines, rock and sand, revealed as it melts.
  • the Secret Lagoon which is a natural hot spring and bathing pool. The water stays at 38-40 Celsius all year round and is perfect for bathing.
  • the site of Geysir, a spouting hot spring that gave its name to all the world’s geysers. ‘Strokkur’ erupts every 10-15 minutes reaching a height of around 30m.
  • Thingvellir - This national park is where Iceland’s parliament was established in 930AD. The site straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, its rift valley forming where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates pull apart at an average of 3cm a year. The pupils walked among the rifts and saw ropy pahoehoe lava from a shield volcano eruption.

It was a truly amazing experience for all the pupils and a real trip of a lifetime.