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Discover the Land of Ice and Fire to have a Lifetime Experience of Volcanoes and Glacier in Iceland



The famous country of Iceland, popularly known as the Land of Ice and Fire, is truly a natural wonderland where the freezing forces of the glaciers battle with the scorching heat of the volcanic mountains. The result of such contrast has resulted in it being a beauty which is found nowhere else.


Volcanoes of Iceland:

The country of Iceland has 30 active volcanic systems, out of which 13 have erupted since the settlement of Iceland in AD 874. The most defining feature of Iceland is its various volcanoes, which have created an endless field of moss-coated lava and vast craters.


Due to the presence of such active volcanoes, they have helped in boosting Iceland's tourism through popular sites such as hot springs and explosive geysers. Volcanoes are considered to be quite crucial to the Icelandic future and industry. There are many significant volcanoes in Iceland. The most familiar and biggest volcanoes is the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which is located in Eyjafjallajökull. It has caused massive disruption of European flights, especially in the year 2010.


Katla is Eyjafjallajökull's neighbour and sits beneath the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in the south of Iceland. It is one of Iceland's most influential and explosive volcanoes, it goes off every few years along with Eyjafjallajökull's system. Grímsvötn is a very volatile volcanic system that is situated under the Vatnajökull glacier in the south-east. When its eruption occurs, the resulting ash clouds are the greatest and the deadliest. Hekla volcano is the most famous and active volcano located in the south of Iceland.


It is the least predictable volcano, and it was referred to as the "Gateway to hell" in the middle ages, due to its regular and dangerous eruptions. Snæfellsjökull is the most beloved volcanoes of Iceland. It often acts as a dramatic backdrop for many sites in that area. It is located on the top of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Askja was even considered a volcano until 1875. When a massive volcanic eruption occurred.


It is essentially the hot spring of Iceland and is known for its deadly ashes that poisoned and killed all of the livestock. Another famous volcano is called Hverfjall or Hverfell, both are accepted names. It is situated right next to Lake Mývatn and is well-loved as a hiking spot. It is very easy to hike for anyone comfortable on their feet. The reason why Iceland is volcanic is that it is located across the Mid Atlantic Ridge, which contains divergent tectonic plates, due to which they often pull away from each other. The ridge separates North America and Eurasian tectonic plates.


When the tectonic plates pull away from each other, the magma from the mantle rises to fill the spaces between the gaps, in the form of volcanic eruptions. Basically, Iceland is a volcanic hotspot.


Tourists can visit the ridge, wherein they can stand between the valleys and see the walls of the continent on the opposite of the National park. Additionally, every year, the divergence between the plates leads to the widening of the valley by 2.5 centimetres.


Volcanic Eruptions:

The volcanic eruptions in Iceland are quite unpredictable, but they are a regular occurrence, and they erupt multiple times in a decade. The most recent eruption that occurred was in Holuhraun in the highlands, in the year 2014.


The Grimsfjall volcano also had a small eruption back in 2011. However, the most famous volcano of Iceland Eyjafjallajökull has often caused troubled, erupting several times in a year.


Though these volcanoes often pose a danger to the locals, most of the active volcanoes are far away from the towns, which can be attributed to the precautions taken up by the early dwellers. Volcanic eruptions indeed leave their mark. An erupting volcano emits various gases and dust particles that leads to profound changes in the weather and climate. Major volcanic eruption hurls Sulphur dioxide in the air where they get mixed with the water, producing sulfuric acid.


If these droplets are large enough, they get trap heat within our atmosphere leading to a greenhouse effect. Volcanic eruptions also release carbon dioxide, another greenhouse gas, resulting in higher temperatures and extreme weather.


Also Read: Die Rakotzbrucke: The Dark secret behind the illusionary bridge of Kromlau


They severely affect human health and crop failures. Another effect of volcanoes is the acid rains, which are harmful to human skin, and they corrode the surface of many buildings and structures. Eruptions can also impair the air quality, creating a volcanic fog known as vog. They consist of sulfuric acid droplets that are distributed by the trade winds. Iceland has also cleverly used its natural phenomena to conduct their industry, both their livelihood and tourism highly depend on volcanoes. Much of its economy and infrastructure is reliant on geothermal forces of nature which are caused due to the volcanic eruptions.


30% of its electricity is produced with the help of geothermal forces, a renewable source of energy. However, other countries also have their eyes on the continuous geothermal energy production, and this poses a threat to their means of income. Other foreign entities have plans to use Iceland's naturally occurring resources to their advantage.

Tourism:

Since Iceland's is a land of volcanoes, many multiday tours take the tourist on a trip to its wide range of volcanoes. These tours are of various types ranging from simple sightseeing tours to trips around the volcanoes.


Tourist gets to listen to various local stories as well as they get to experience a different kind of adventure, because how often can someone say they have visited the volcanoes up close. One can also arrange a super jeep tour, wherein one can visit the various craters of North Iceland from the village of Husavik. Here the tourist also gets to learn the history as well as the reason behind the volcanic eruptions. On the other hand, the flightseeing tour allows the tourists to see the Grimsvotn crater from beneath the Vatnajökull glacier through an aerial experience. Hence the tourism in Iceland is unmatched since it provides an overall 360-degree clear view of its famous volcanoes while also ensuring the safety of its tourist and locals alike.


Tourists not only get to view the volcanoes from outside, but they also get to experience the beauty of the volcano from inside with the help of the "Into the Volcano" tour which gives the tourist an uninterrupted view of the brightly covered magma chamber of a dormant volcano. Ultimately, every trip to Iceland will always include volcanoes, since it is its best feature.

Glacial Floods:

Glacial floods regularly occur in Iceland due to volcanic eruptions. They take place when melted water from the glacier bursts out in a sudden surge. When the water pressure rises sufficiently, it can lift the glacier, releasing the water in a violent outburst flood. Grímsvötn geothermal area and volcano in the western part of Vatnajökull produce regular glacial outburst floods.


These floods, called Skaftárhlaup to take place once every 2-3 years. The intensity of the floods depends on numerous factors, including the level of geothermal activity in Grímsvötn. As surrounding ice melts, Lake Grímsvötn gradually enlarges over a few years. Ultimately it melts through an ice dam at a low point in the confining landform and drains into a subglacial tunnel. The cycle starts again as the lake begins to refill.


Damage due to Volcanic Eruption:

Volcanoes cause physical damage to structures and buildings, wildlife, local vegetation, and the atmosphere. Even when humans evacuate, damages to the structures and buildings can occur. Volcanic eruptions throw large amounts of ash. When this ash descends and collects on the rooftops of buildings, the likelihood of the roof collapsing increases.


Because this ash comprises of fine glass particles and is toxic, when it is breathed in, humans and animals in the immediate vicinity often experience respiratory problems. Lava flowing from the centre of the volcano causes a fire danger to wildlife and plants in the area, with the effects often felt for many miles around.


Lava and fallen ash also destroy plant life by smothering it. Volcanic eruptions are also sometimes responsible for triggering tsunamis and electrical storms within areas surrounding the eruption. Though volcanoes serve as a good source of entertainment and business to its people, it also poses a danger to their habitat and lives. However, modern technology has helped in predicting calamity and ensure safe evacuation as well as precaution to take place before the real danger. Seismic stations are present around the country, and they monitor the volcanic activities. They essentially serve as an early warning system. They keep a close eye on any potential or major volcanoes such as Katla or Askja.


Hence, areas around them are closed, and they are closely monitored. Thanks to the evolution of Science, volcanoes can be predicted early on, and the precaution measure can be put into action immediately, saving countless lives.


Conclusion:

The volcanoes of Iceland stand as its pride, despite its danger. The land of ice and land truly embodies its name and puts other countries to shame when it comes to its natural landscape. One cannot leave Iceland without witnessing the beauty of its volcanoes, in all its ashy glory.


Up Next: Seven Falls of Colorado Spring: A True Geological Wonder to have a Once in a Lifetime Experience

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