The Geology of Iceland

A Field Course
(GEOL 271--2 P/F Credits)

Offered by

Dr. Jim Reynolds,
Professor of Geology
Brevard College
Brevard, NC 29712

Lakagígar, as seen from the top of Laki volcano: The crater chain formed in the 1783-1784 rift eruption, the world's second largest in recorded history. The chain stretches from Katla volcano, in the south, to Grimsvötn, a subglacial volcano and Iceland's most active, in the north. This view looks southward. The northward view encompasses the western half of the Vatnajökull, the world's third largest ice cap.

A 24-day, 23-night camping and hiking trip to the volcanoes and glaciers of Iceland.
All hikes are day hikes—no backpacking involved
.

Participants: Please contact Ove Andersen at andersto@brevard.edu for ticket information.

Dates: July 5-28, 2012

Overview: Iceland is a sparsely populated volcanic island that is located astride the mid-Atlantic Ridge, just south of the Arctic Circle. It is the only place where the ridge can be seen at the surface. Several enormous icecaps cover the large highland regions, including the Vatnajökull, the world's third largest icecap. Evidence of volcanism and past glaciation abounds at every turn. Although Iceland's geology is the focus of this trip, participants do not need to be geology students. They don't even need to be students; all are welcome to join us.

Temperatures in July are generally in the 45º-65º F (7-20º C) range. The sun is up 20-22 hours/day in July; it never really gets dark. Our night at Askja will probably be the coldest since it is the highest elevation.

Since Iceland is a large geothermal area, almost all campgrounds provide hot showers. Some of the campgrounds are located at or near excellent hot springs. Hikes are easy to moderate with strenuous options available. The bus is comfortable and comes with an expert Icelandic driver. Although Icelandic is the native language, most Icelanders speak some English--some speak very well. In the past, most participants have enjoyed learning how to pronounce the names of the sites we visit.

We camp every night on these trips and prepare our own meals in a well-equipped field kitchen/dining tent, complete with tables and chairs. You will need to bring your own tent, sleeping bag, and ground pad but all cooking equipment is supplied. Our camp manager will make sure that everyone gets enough to eat. Participants will be divided into kitchen teams so that everyone gets a chance to dazzle the rest with their culinary prowess.

I have led five other groups to Iceland and know the island very well. In the past, Iceland has been very expensive. Their recent economic collapse lowered prices considerably. This year's 24-day trip will cost about the same as the 2007 2-week trip. It may never be cheaper than this summer again.

The 2010 volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull (I'll teach you how to pronounce it!) demonstrated the importance of this volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic when it closed down airports across Europe. There is always a possibility that we will see an eruption while we are there.

Brevard Students: To participate, enroll in GEOL 271 on the summer course schedule.

Photos From Previous Trips

2007 Iceland Blog with Photos

2010 Iceland Blog with Photos

Brevard Students will receive 2 P/F credits.
Transfer Credit is available to students from other institutions.
Contact Ms. Janie McCall for payment information at (828) 884-8310.
Email: mccallj@brevard.edu

The trip will begin and end at Iceland's Keplavík International Airport (or, if you arrive early, Reykjavík's Laugardalur Campground).
IcelandAir flies from numerous gateway cities in North America and Europe. If you sign up for the trip after April 30th, will need to make your own flight arrangements.

Contact me for details at reynoljh@brevard.edu.

Estimated costs (subject to airline/fuel price changes):
Brevard College students, staff, faculty, alumni, and their families: $2125
Other students and participants: $2375.

The trip includes:                                                
Meals
Campground fees
Ground and Ferry Transportation
Entrance fees
Trip insurance

Tips: The only tip you will need to cover is for the driver. I recommend a tip of $5/day/person for the 24 days we will use the driver ($120).
                                                        
Proposed Itinerary:

Day

1

5-Jul

Depart from Boston: IcelandAir Flight 630 departing at 2130 (9:30 PM).

Day

2

6-Jul

Arrive in Reykjavík: Visit the mid-ocean ridge on the Reykjanes. Night at Laugardalur Campground

Day

3

7-Jul

Nesjavellir geothermal power plant, Þingvellir, Gullfoss, Geysir , Night at Laugardalur

Day

4

8-Jul

West Iceland: South side of Snaefellsnes, Night at Amarstapi

Day

5

9-Jul

West Iceland: North side of Snaefellsnes, Night at Bjarkalundur

Day

6

10-Jul

Látrabjarg, Northwest Iceland: Iceland's oldest rocks and westernmost point, puffins,
rugged mountains, and deep fjords. Campsite to be determined

Day

7

11-Jul

Exploring northwest Iceland: Campsite to be determined

Day

8

12-Jul

Exploring northwest Iceland: Campsite to be determined

Day

9

13-Jul

North Iceland: Husavík, Ásbyrgi Hike, Hafragilsfoss, Dettifoss: Night at Bjarg ( Mývatn)

Day

10

14-Jul

Mývatn (Northeast Iceland): Skútustađagígar, Dimmuborgir, Ludent Hike: Night at Bjarg

Day

11

15-Jul

Mývatn: Namasfjall Geothermal Area, Krafla Viti, Hike in Krafla Caldera: Night at Bjarg

Day

12

16-Jul

Mývatn: Hverfell and Grótgjá hike: Night at Bjarg

Day

13

17-Jul

Herđubreiđ, Hrossaborg, Askja Caldera, Askja Viti, Drekagil: Night at Askja

Day

14

18-Jul

Cross the Sprengisandur (Central Iceland Desert) to Landmannalaugar (Southwest Iceland):
Night at Landmannalaugar (next to an obsidian lava flow)

Day

15

19-Jul

Free day at Landmannalaugar: Hiking and hot spring. Night at Landmannalaugar.

Day

16

20-Jul

Eldgjá rift and waterfall: Night at Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Day

17

21-Jul

Laki, Lakagígar: Visit the site of the enormous 1784 eruption: Night at Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Day

18

22-Jul

Skaftafell & Jökulsárlón (iceberg lagoon): Night at Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Day

19

23-Jul

Hiking in Vatnajökull National Park, Night at Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Day 20
24-Jul
To Vestmannaeyjar (Heimaey). Vík, Skógafoss, Eyjafjallajökull, ferry to Heimaey, Night in Heimaey
Day 21
25-Jul
To Reykjavík: Night at Laugardalur
Day 22
26-Jul
Reykjavík: Free day, shopping and farewell dinner: Night at Laugardalur
Day 23
27-Jul
Exploring Reykjanes: Night at Keylir
Day 24
28-Jul
Break camp, visit the Blue Lagoon, and then Return to Boston

Payment Schedule:

Payment Due at sign-up  $2125 (Brevard)
$2375 (Non-Brevard)

Pricing is based on 20 participants. The cost will be somewhat higher if less than 20 people enroll.
A minimum of 10 participants is required to make the trip go.

All money is refundable until May 1st when we purchase our airline tickets and pay our Icelandic travel agent.

Contact JR if you have questions: reynoljh@brevard.edu.

Jim Reynolds' Home Page


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