Island - Iceland


Iceland is a large portion of the Midatlantic Ridge rising above sea level. Thus, Iceland offers one of the most fascinating landscapes of the world. Its surface is almost entirely basaltic. Due to its arctic weather conditions there a large territories of barren basalt.



Central portion of Midatlantic Ridge seen from an altitude of 33 000 feet. Snow fields clearly outline the strike of the longest mountain range of the world. Only here on Iceland a large area of this entirely basaltic volcanic mountain range rises above sealevel. The area shown in the foreground outlines the 25 km long and up to 1 km wide fissure canyon of Eldgja.

The American plate is in the upper left and the Eurasian plate in the lower right. The extensional tectonics are clearly visible, outlined by shading and snow fields on the northnorthwestern sides of faults.









Black and violett colored landscape of the central part of Midatlantic Ridge. Volcanic cones in the left, faulting outlined by snow fields. The area completely lacks vegetation and is barren basalt, wherever you look. Picture taken from top of Tungnafjellsjökull, Iceland. Hekla volcano is visible in the distance. The visibility exceeded 200 km!



This surface resembles the surface of Mars. In the center of Iceland, accessible only by foot or special vehicles there are basaltic landscapes of dust, sand and stones like this one. This surface is underlain by thick layers of frozen water (i. e. old snow). This is best illustrated in the next picture. 




Basaltic sand dunes a couple of meters high underlain by layers of old snow. Arctic conditions in combination with volcanic activity created this strange landscape.

This observation may represent a possible explanation for hidden layers of frozen water on Mars! Within this area you also can find numerous volcanoes that resemble in shape (not in size...) Olympus Mons, particularily regarding its steep slops at the bottom. However, to visit this area requires careful planning of your trip. There is definitely no civilization around!!! When I was here I felt being on a different planet than Earth. The area is entirely of made of basaltic and other volcanic rocks, sands and dusts colored violett, grey, black and sometimes even red. Its surface completely lacks vegetation. It is a lifetime experience to hike around there.





Basaltic flooding

in the north of Iceland. The arctic tundra hills (all of volcanic origin) form islands in a sea of basalt. Here it is fascinating to watch how on the one hand landscapes are being destroyed by volcanic activity and on the other hand are being built up by volcanoes.




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