Iceland in Four Days – Part II

This is my third post about Iceland. By now you guessed that I’m in love with the place, and you’re not wrong.  It is not just because of its beauty, though. Iceland delivers the expected breathtaking vistas, but it is what I felt and thought when looking at it, that struck me.

While appreciating the ocean, rivers, lakes, ice, dormant volcanos, and land, you cannot stop reminding yourself to not take nature for granted, for its amazing capacity to support life. I bow with awe and respect to the Earth, this extraordinary place we call home, and the only planet known to harbour life.

The Earth has gone through a massive geological transformation in its 4 billion years of existence, creating what we know today as our oceans, atmosphere, magnetic field, continents, mountains, volcanoes, etc. Throughout this time, the Earth has seen ice ages, first life forms, mass extinction of dinosaurs, and the rise of human life.

In more recent times, we became aware of many environmental changes, which might threaten our very existence, and that’s why the global warming debate ensued.

Regardless of which theory you believe in, I’m confident that if anyone cares about being alive, one should at least be aware of the data informing on how our planet is changing now and how Earth could change in the future. From rising sea levels to the availability of freshwater, alarm bells ring, warning us of the need to care for what makes life possible: our home, the Earth.

Iceland made me ponder about all of that. There is no sight of human presence in its barren vegetation but ice, active volcanoes, lava fields and remains of lava from previous explosions. They are untouched by human civilisation. Two-thirds of its 329k inhabitants live in the southwest area of the island because the other areas are not as suitable for living. The island’s interior, the Highlands of Iceland, is a cold and uninhabitable combination of sand, mountains, and lava fields.

From a geological standpoint, Iceland is a country in constant transformation, while being shaped by the forces of nature. The name Iceland is misleading because “ice” only covers about 10% of the land, although it has the most massive glaciers in Europe.

Imagine what life would be if the Earth would be like Iceland, and the world’s population would be concentrated in a small area with no vegetation and animals, counting only on the sea and geothermal water. I didn’t need a better reminder of humans frailty and dependency on nature’s resources to live and survive.

Iceland is closer to continental Europe than to mainland North America, but geologically, the island includes parts of both continental plates. Iceland is part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge ad it was created through volcanism along the ridge. The ridge marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North American plates. It is the only place in the world where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge comes up out of the sea and is exposed on land. That’s where I was in the photo below.

Tectonic plates

I shot the featured image in the place you see in the first photo below. While shooting, I noticed these little survivors of the extreme weather. Human beings wouldn’t have survived that.  It was minus 9 C degrees in the night before I shot it, at around noon, and the sun had shone just two hours before. It was still freezing.

National park Thingvellir
National park Thingvellir sunrise

Let’s visit more places? From the national park Thingvellir, we headed to Geysir. Iceland has many geysers, including Geysir. Did you know that the English word ‘geyser’ is derived from Geysir, the oldest known geyser?

On the road to Geysir, through the national park.

We visited the famous geyser ‘Strokkur’, which erupts every 8–10 minutes. See below.

Strokkur geyser

 

Strokkur geyser

Iceland is the world’s ‘greenest’ country and is at the forefront of renewable energy production, for its widespread availability of geothermal power and the harnessing of many rivers and waterfalls for hydroelectricity. Nearly every home in the country has access to inexpensive hot water, heating, and electricity from renewable energy sources.  Below are the photos of a partially frozen waterfall.

Gulfoss waterfall

Gullfoss
Gullfoss

The weekly photo challenge asked for my interpretation of transformation. This is my take on it. Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

Let’s take care of our Earth. It is the only home we have.

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Being geologically active with many volcanoes, in March 2010,  Eyjafjallajökull in the south of Iceland erupted for the first time since 1821, forcing 600 people to flee and abandon their homes. The cloud of volcanic ash brought major disruption to air travel across Europe. I visited the area and will share it in the next post.

Check this, if you are interested: my shots of the Northern lights and more photos on Iceland in Fours Days – Part I.  

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Sharing sights & insights captured with diverse angles. Ex-corporate slave, now my own boss. Cycling, hiking, cooking, reading, yoga, writing and photography, are no longer only hobbies listed on my resume. It's what I do, when I want.

30 thoughts on “Iceland in Four Days – Part II

  1. I can’t stop admiring and I am heading over to the other two posts. Iceland has been on my list for a long time and your post makes me think why am I not yet heading over to Iceland?
    Gorgeous is an understatement. You have done justice to the landscapes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful, thought provoking post, Lucile. Thank you for sharing. Iceland is a country I’d really like to get to in the coming years. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and everyone I know who’s been there raves about it. Interesting, all the thoughts you exprienced while experiencing Iceland. Let’s care for the earth, indeed. It’s a true gem, and we are certainly are at the mercy of nature and her whims.

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  3. I greatly enjoyed your reflections on Iceland’s physical beauty and the link to our planet’s transformations over time. Iceland is a great place to really see nature in its full glory because the lack of humans almost forces a closer look. The fact that its land formations and physical phenomena are so wildly different just adds to the fun! Your photos are so ethereal; as I told you last time, I now want to visit in the wintertime to catch these muted hues!

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    1. Thanks for reading my reflections, Lexie.
      It’s tough to write about anything that touches environmental changes lately, without running the risk of being beaten up by those opposing it or by those who are too dogmatic about.
      Your words give me peace of mind, and I’m happy you liked it.
      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I just love this, Lucile! Stunning photography and the brilliant blues captured in the water and ice is gorgeous! Your information was fascinating to read. I read a long time ago that “they” named Iceland as such and Greenland to throw off people who would want to visit, since their names are completely opposite of their climates.

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  5. Iceland is an amazing place. I wasn’t too sure I would like it when I first arrived, it really is like nowhere else on earth, but it soon had me enthralled. I really must write up about my trip there.

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