Iceland: Land of Fire, Light and Ice

January 15, 2019, Presentation: Iceland: The Land of Fire, Light, and Ice, Presented by Mike Adler, Geologists of Jackson Hole.

This talk will showcase the geology and the beautiful scenery and wild terrain of Iceland. The island of Iceland itself is less than 25 million years old and was formed by the Iceland volcanic  plume which over the last 65 million years produced 10 million km³ of magma through the ever widening crack between the North American and the Eurasian plates. This crack, known as the mid Atlantic rift, is the main geological feature of Iceland and is the only place in the Atlantic ocean where it is above sea level. Much of the content of the talk is the result of a 17 day trip done by 24 members of the Geologists of Jackson Hole in October 2017.  The trip begins along the southwest coast where the rift dramatically comes ashore and then along the south shore with its amazing mix of waterfalls, volcanoes, mountains and the largest glaciers in Europe. This is the site of several notable and historic volcanic eruptions. These include the Laki eruptions in the 1780’s which resulted in wide spread famine and disaster in the northern hemisphere and are thought to have led to the French revolution; and the Eyjafjallajokull (E16 for short) eruption which caused the disruption in air travel in Europe for weeks in 2010. Moving on to the northern coast where the rift is encountered again, there are an amazing series of thermal areas and volcanoes both active and dormant. The north shore was also the site of a night of beautiful Northern Lights which the group thoroughly enjoyed. The trip ends along the west coast with some spectacular scenery and geological features, and then finishes in Reykjavik.