An extraordinary landscape of ice and snow dominates the southeastern coast as Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier comes into view. It’s full immensity is striking, glaring ice sheets with grey needle-sharp mountain peaks and tongues of ice exiting onto the gravel plains. It covers eight thousand square kilometers, is almost 150km broad and up to a kilometre thick.
Glacial geology and geomorphology has a descriptive language all of it’s own. Ice sculpts and rearranges mountains and valleys, and the terminology is as arresting as it’s relentless effect: cirques and aretes, jagged ridges, glacial flutes, drumlins, eskers, hummocky moraines, rock flour. A highlight of the trip was a boat ride on the Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon, 10 kilometers west of Jökulsárlon. The lagoon was formed after the glacier began shrinking rapidly in the 1940’s and forms a pool between the Breiðamerkurjökull and the sea. We chose a tour company using zodiac dinghies as the boats are more manoeuvrable and able to get close-up to the icebergs. The brochure describes the experience as “stepping into a dreamlike world”. It certainly was otherworldly, with the growl of the retreating ice, and the boat guide fearful of getting too close to the wall of the glacier. It is receding far faster now than as any other time and is logged at 500m over the past decade. Our young guide expressed his concern over the effect of global warming and recommended watching the documentary “Chasing Ice”. Here’s a link to the trailer – it’s a pretty sobering look at the effects of climate change.
17 thoughts on “Iceland Series: Ice”
You have shown us beauty in the glacier. My worry as it melts is for the survival of the animals that depend on it for survival.
Yes it’s very worrying and the creatures in the polar cap regions are already feeling the effects. It’s a scary outlook for future generations.
Woooow! What a fantastic shot. I would love to travel there
Great to get these comments, thanks Rajiv. I can highly recommend it!
This is such a stunning post. Thanks for sharing your scenes of this beautiful ice.
Thanks Emily, i appreciate the comments 🙂
Great work, Liz. I’ve watched the trailer and will get the film to watch. Thanks so much.
Hi Mary. It sure is an eye-opener; climate change is upon us.
Was it desperately cold Liz?
Literally freezing – but kit was provided for the tour, good thick survival suits. We needed them.
Amazing images! 🙂
Such beautiful pictures!!
Thanks for the tip to “Chasing Ice”, and also for including your young guide’s comments. It’s good to get these reminders from eyewitnesses, right there where the changes are being documented.
Your pictures are truly stunning. We visited Iceland last year, but didn’t get too many shots of wildlife or birds. Really liked the pictures of puffins in your previous post. 🙂
Thanks! Isn’t Iceland an intriguing country to visit. There are so many different elements. I had a good browse through your blog, and those ‘two brown feet’ are sure getting places….