We took a bus up the west coast of Iceland to learn about Volcanism and some of the physical geography of the country. Our tour guide Arnie taught us about local customs and an overview of the geography of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. We visited a museum in Stykkishomur devoted to volcanoes and volcanism in the area and heard from Harald Sigurdsson, the famous geologist, who explained about the formation of different types of rocks found in Iceland, as well as a geological history of the area. On the way back down the coast we visited several breathtaking sites including a cinder cone volcano, a black sand beach, and several small fishing towns
One of our first stops--the fishing village of Stykkishomur. We enjoyed a great view, ate some delicious seafood chowder, and learned about geology with Harald.
The shore break at the black sand beach we visited: the black sand and rocks get their colour from the ash and volcanic rock.
Group shot from the top of the volcano we hiked up.
Golden Circle Tour
We visited Iceland's main tourist destinations today, with the highlights including standing on top of the Mid Atlantic Ridge boundary, visiting the site of the world's first democratic parliament, saw the third biggest Geysir in the world, and viewed the famous Gulfoss Waterfall.
A photo of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, standing from the North American Plate. This is a divergent plate boundary, where the plates are spreading apart at approximately 2cm per year. As a result, heavy lava flows form the horizontal layers and "rope" patterns seen in the photos below:
The following pictures show the original site of the world's first democratically elected parliament. The parliament was formed in 930 A.D at the edge of the North American plate, and lasted until 1798. This was an ideal site for many reasons: the rift valley provides extremely clean drinking water, the high cliffs effectively projected the voices during parliamentary speeches, and it was a great site for residents across Iceland to camp at once a year while parliament was in session. This proved to be a very social gathering for Icelanders (taking place every June); they met and visited with residents from opposite ends of the country, played sports, socialized, traded, organized weddings, all of which helped foster a sense of togetherness. As a result of this yearly gathering, the Icelandic language has been preserved, and no regional dialects ever emerged.
The Strokkur Geysir-it is the world's third largest geysir, erupting every 3-8 minutes.
Gulfoss Waterfall: no one knows the true depth due to the water's tremendous force Also, due to the waterfall's great beauty, laws are in place to prevent any development or any energy from being harnessed from this waterfall; therefore, no dams will ever be built at this site.