Saturday, January 14, 2012

School Trips to See the Amazing Geography of Iceland

Sitting well to the north of the United Kingdom, in the heart of the North Atlantic Ocean, is the Nordic European island nation of Iceland. Often known as the "land of the midnight sun", settlement of Iceland began in 874 A.D. when Ingólfr Arnarson became the first Nordic settler.
Iceland is a country that is both geologically and volcanically active, and, as such, it is a great place to learn about the different geological areas and concerns. Its capital city of Reykjavík is a great place to begin school trips around the country that will showcase the various elements of Icelandic geography - such as the Great Geysir, the Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Thingvellir National Park.
Great Geysir, Blue Lagoon - Research shows that the Great Geysir, in Haukadalur Valley on the slopes of Laugarfjall Hill, has been active for around 10,000 years. If students are lucky, school trips that include Geysir on the itinerary will result in them getting to see the massive water flow explode upwards into the sky. Over the years, Geysir has been recorded to erupt up to a height of 170 metres (recorded in 1845). Conversely, it has also stopped erupting for years at a time too. The frequency and power with which Geysir erupts is directly related to the seismic activity below the ground, but if the Great Geysir doesn't erupt while you are visiting, you can see the nearby Stokker Geysir erupt up to heights of 30 metres every few minutes.
Gullfoss Waterfall - The Gullfoss Waterfall is one of the visited natural attractions in Iceland - and one of the most visually stunning. It is located in the valley of the Hvítá River in the southwest of the country, and school trips to see the waterfall will be rewarded with splendid views and a roar of rushing water. It has its origin in the glacier lake Hvítávatn, and it flows down a three-step staircase of rocks before plunging down two more steps into a 32-metre ravine, giving the illusion that the water disappears into the earth. The waterfall gets its golden colour due to the amount of sediment that is carried in the glacial waters, and it often shines, burnished, in the sunlight.
Thingvellir National Park - Not only is Thingvellir National Park notable for its dramatic landscapes, but it has a rich history that dates back to around 930 A.D. The Althing was an open-air assembly held in the park, representing the whole of Iceland. It began in 930 A.D. and continued for two weeks every year until 1798. In 2004 the park and the remnants of the Althing were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. School trips to the park will take you to see the areas of continental drift between the Eurasian and North American Teutonic Plates, which collide and manifest in the cracks and faults that perforate the area. Some of these are filled with amazingly clear water where visitors toss coins for good luck.

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