Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Wild and Crazy Day in Iceland

June 16, 2013 Iceland. Day 9 of OAT Tour (Oversea Adventure Tours). We visit the Sólheimajökull glacier, take a jeep ride and visit two stunning waterfalls

Ingvi drives us to Sólheimajökull glacier on a newly-graded gravel road

We are fitted with crampons and an ice ax, then walk across the rocks to the glacier

Our guides help us don our crampons and we set off. Sólheimajökull glacier was covered with ash in the 2010 eruptions of a nearby volcano. That is one of the reasons that it appears so "dirty".

The crampons (metal spiked device strapped to the feet) made walking easy and we felt secure from slipping.

This is the view behind us as we climbed. In the foreground is glacier with black conical heaps, in the middle ground a melt-water lake and in the background (in front of the hills) is our bus and other vehicles. They may be hard to see; they are on the far left. Several years ago one could get out of our bus and step on the glacier. This glacier is receding at a fast rate.

Our glacier guides were excelllent!

Photo op! Triggvi, our OAT guide is in a red coat at the left.

The black cones seen on the ice are formed in an interesting way. Ash covered the glacier and was washed into cracks where it accumulated in depth. 

The black ash can function in opposite ways; if thinly spread (less than 7 cm about) it provided a black layer that absorbs sunlight and hastens melting. If the ash is thick, if insulates the snow, retarding melting. 

As the snow and ice melted, the cones of ash in the cracks emerged as the highest structures--black cones!

Water is running along and through the ice everywhere. Here an arch has been cut out.

Moving horses to a new pasture

You can see geology here--maybe because of the scarcity of trees.

The Vestmann Islands--home of a newly made volcanic island


Arctic Tern

Our super jeep ride vehicles

Oops--don't stand too near the edge!

Beautiful basalt cave

This beach is basalt "sand"

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

Going behind the falls!

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