Monday, December 2, 2013

Iceland - Part 7

Glaciers and Black Sand Beach

We visited two impressive glaciers in Iceland and saw many more from a distance. I think the glacier below is the Myrdalsjokull Glacier, but I'm not completely certain. Hot springs beneath the glacier contribute to its melt water.
The end of the glacier displayed cave-like melting features like these.
The glacier produced a melt lake shown in the following wide angle mosaic. Click on the image below for a bigger picture.
We also visited the Eyjafjallajokull Glacier, shown in the next picture, during our trip to the Thorsmork Nature Reserve. The glacier descends from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, the famous "unpronounceable" volcano, which severely disrupted air traffic when it erupted in 2010. The glacier is pronounced: AY-uh-fyat-luh-YOE-kuutl-uh. That helped, didn't it? Our guide easily pronounced it over and over during the tour. I gave up. I still can't get the hang of it.

The 2010 eruption caused the collapse and catastrophic draining of a large glacial melt lake, now seen as the empty gray foreground area in the picture below.
We also visited a beautiful black sand beach near the small village of Vik. The "sand" we walked on looked like this.
I was fascinated by the spectacular basalt column cave which I tried to capture in photos. The cave had a silvery interior glow not apparent in many of my photos. I found the basalt structures and cave so enthralling that I spent little time photographing the shoreline or the rock formations offshore. After a while foggy mist rolled in from the sea hiding the offshore rock formations. Birds soared overhead. Our guides said we had the best conditions they had ever seen - no strong winds, or huge dangerous waves at the time of our visit.

The first picture below, a wide angle mosaic, shows the basalt column complex surrounding the dark cave in the middle, but it doesn't show the glow within the cave. Click on the image for a larger view.
The next wide angle mosaic does a better job of depicting the illuminated cave. Click on the image for a larger view.
Here is a closer look at the basalt columns to the left of the cave.
And here are the columns to the right of the cave.
Looking above the view in the previous picture revealed a multitude of tilted columns.
Pulling back further you can see the whole cliff with birds wheeling above.
Check out these strange formations near the base of the cliffs.
My last Iceland post will come next week.

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People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin
When I say that I'm o.k. well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you're not happy now you no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me
When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

John Lennon