10 DAYS - Iceland for Geologists - Roundtrip around Iceland - EI78
An insight into the history of our earth
About 20-25 million years ago Iceland was formed by volcanic eruptions. It is the only place in the world where you can stand on the Mid-Atlantic ridge on dry land. As the Eurasian and the American plates are drifting apart, Iceland is kept busy by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and new land is built. That, along with the hot spot that is under Iceland, the fascinating landscape and dramatic nature make Iceland the perfect place to go for geologists and everyone who wants to see the power of the earth.
For groups only
(not scheduled tour)
Duration: 10 days
Available: On request
Included: Hotel pick up & drop off in Reykjavik, guided geological tour, all necessary equipment.
Bring with you: Warm clothes, sturdy shoes.
For further information:
On day one we go to the Golden Circle, which takes us first to the Thingvellir Nationalpark. Thingvellir was declared a National Park in 1930. The first parliament worldwide was held in Thingvellir, but the place is also of geologically importance as you can clearly see the tectonic plates drifting apart there. If requested, we go snorkelling in the Silfra fissure, in the icy water.
Next we come to the geothermal field of Geysir with hundreds of hot springs of all types, most with boiling water. Geysir, one of the most famous hot springs in the world, was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans. The English word geyser (a spouting hot spring) derives from the Icelandic “Geysir”. The majestic Gullfoss Falls (the "Golden Falls") are in the glacial river Hvita which flows from the lake Hvitarvatn and glacier Langjokull which is the second biggest glacier in Iceland. Gullfoss is 32 metres high but it plunges in two stages (11 m and 21 m).
On day 2 we take the Super Jeeps, which will take us to Thorsmork. We pass the Hjalparfoss (Helping waterfall). From here we continue to Thorsmork, a wide valley named after Thor, the Viking God of Thunder. We drive into this beautiful valley, surrounded on three sides by steep mountains, crossing raging rivers and gentle streams, passing caves and giant boulders before stopping at the remains of a glacial lagoon at glacier of Gigjokull.
Our tour takes us along the beautiful south shore of Iceland. Our first stop is at Seljalandsfoss, a very photogenic waterfall that plunges from ancient sea cliffs down over 60 m to a shallow pool. It is possible to take a walk behind the waterfall and enjoy the beautiful scenery from there. The water comes from the infamous volcano and glacier Eyjafjallajökull.
Our next stop will be at Skogar where we will see the Skogafoss Waterfall. It's also 60 m in height and is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.
Close to Vik we will find the black sand beach Reynisfjara with some fantastic sights such as the picturesque basalt column formations and the magnificent Reynisdrangar sea stacks. On our way we see enormous devastated areas of sandy plains and ash and we go through the famous Laki fields, which is a volcanic fissure in the south of Iceland and of great importance for geology. They are part of a volcanic system centered on the Grímsvötn volcano that erupted over an eight-month period between 1783 and 1784. Your experienced guide can show you around a wide area of cinder cones.
As we head to the eastern part of Iceland, we go through Skeidararsandur, which is a vast sand plain, formed from alluvial deposits. With a surface of 1300 km², it is the largest sand field in the world.
We stop at the impressive Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. It is located at the end of an outlet glacier of the great Vatnajokull Glacier. Huge pieces of ice calve from the glacier and end up floating in the lagoon and out to sea. From April to October it's possible to enjoy an optional 40-minute boat ride among icebergs of all shapes. We also take a walk alongside the lake and on the black sand shores and look for seals which may be spotted in the lagoon.
We also do a glacier walk on the Svínafellsjökull glacier tongue. Svínafellsjökull is a breathtaking outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull glacier and the scenery and views are simply stunning. We walk through a wonderland of glacial ice sculptures, meandering through ice ridges and the deep crevasses of the glacier.
Among the highlights of day 3 is a stop at Dverghamrar. Dverghamrar (Dwarf Rocks) are peculiar and beautiful formations of columnar basalt.
At the Skaftafell Nationalpark, your guide will lead you on a small path towards the glacier Kvíamýrarkambur.
On day 5 we pass Lonsoraefi (Lon valley), an uninhabited, mountainous area to the east of the big icecap Vatnajokull is called Lonsoraefi. We go through the peaceful and absolutely beautiful eastern fjords and enjoy the landscape in different spots.
We furthermore go to the famous Petra´s stone museum. Petra, an Icelandic lady started collecting rocks when she was a little girl. She started to collect them and soon had to store them in her garden, as there was no space inside her house. People who passed her house saw all these rocks twinkling in her garden and asked if they might have a look at them. Nowadays the collection attracts people from all over the world.
On day 6 we do a short hike up to the beautiful Hengifoss, one of the highest waterfalls is Iceland. The waterfall is surrounded by beautiful and colourful rocks, that show several different layers, which developed during volcanic eruptions when Iceland was formed. Therefore it is not only a nice place for nature lovers but especially for geologists and others who are interested in the formation of Iceland. The hike takes about 1 hour and is accompanied by an amazing sight over eastern Iceland. We pass the vast sand area Hólssandur and go to Namafjall, a geothermal field, which is located in Northeast Iceland, just on the east side of Lake Myvatn. The area is also known as Hverir and you can see many solfataras and several boiling mud pots, which are surrounded by sulfur crystals in different colors and the typical smell of sulfur.
A highlight of the tour is Grjótagjá, a small lava cave near lake Mývatn with a thermal spring inside. It was used as a filming location for Game Of Thrones and is a very unique and beautiful place to take a short bath inside the cave.
On day 7 we take some time to hike through the Krafla area. Krafla is a caldera in the north of the lake Myvatn. Krafla has had 29 reported eruptions and is used to generate geothermal energy. It is certainly an amazing experience as you can still see and feel the warmth of the lava. By Krafla we also see Viti (Hell), a crater that was formed in Krafla´s eruption in 1724 to 1729. It is a crater with a diameter of about 300m that is filled by a green lake. West of Krafla is another interesting attraction – Lejrhnjúkur, which is a lavafield and part of the Krafla caldera.
After an exciting day we deserve some relaxation and go to Myvatn, which is a beautiful lake with many small islands in the north of Iceland, it is furthermore the fourth largest lake in the country. The Myvatn nature baths are known as an excellent place for relaxation and surrounded by breathtaking landscape.
As we travel to the East, we stop at “The Dark Castles” Dimmuborgir, which is a place with lots of unique and peculiar lava formations, in the Laxa Lava field. Also the 13 Icelandic Santas live in this area.
Our next stop is the Godafoss waterfall, one of the most impressive waterfalls of the country. It is part of the glacial river Skjalfandafljot.
We go on to Akureyri. With a population of about 17.200 Akureyri is by far the largest city outside the Reykjavik capital area and is called the capital of the north.
Our last destination for day 8 is Stykkisholmur, a cozy little fishing town in Snaefellsnes. Stykkisholmur served as a filming location for the movie “Walter Mitty” and is a beautiful and tranquil little place.
As we head towards Reykjavik again we pass Deildartunguhver, a hotspring in Reykholtsdalur It is characterized by a very high flow rate for a hot spring and water emerges at 97 °C. It is the highest-flow hot spring in Europe.
Another highlight of the tour is the “Hraunfossar”( engl.“Lava Falls”), which are a beautiful and unusual natural phenomena. We stop to see these wonderful cascading falls, which fall into the river Hvita, fed with groundwater from beneath an ancient lava flow. Most of the water comes from the underground streams which flow from Langjokull glacier. We spend the evening and the night in Reykjavik
After breakfast we start our trip to the Reykjanes Peninsula, where we are going to see the rift between the North American and the Eurasian plate, and cross the small bridge that connects both of them. There is no other place on earth, where the rift is as obviously visible as in Iceland. We stop at Gunnuhver, a geothermal field. The many mud pools formed where the steam from boiling geothermal water emanates and condense. It mixes with surface water and the gases like carbon dioxide or sulphur make the water acid. The area around these mud pools is covered with beautiful yellow colors.
An experience not to miss in Iceland is a caving tour. We go to Leidarendi, a lava tube cave that is known for its variety and diversity as you can find almost everything that a cave could offer from a geological perspective.
Note: the itinerary is subject to change for reasons like weather conditions and can be adjusted to your wishes.