During mid-term in October, Geography students from Wimbledon High School in Years 11 and 12 had the chance to take a trip to Iceland to further their studies. During this September/October time of year, there is an increase in solar activity, making the Northern Lights, a main attraction in Iceland, all the more stunning.
Upon arrival in Reykjavik, they visited Iceland’s tallest building, the Smáratorg Tower, whose most prominent feature is its breathtaking curved architecture.
The following day, the students did the “Golden Circle Tour of Iceland”, which included visiting Thingvellir, Iceland’s iconic lake and mountain view, followed by one of the most wonderful sights from Iceland, the “geysir geothermal area”, which Remy Tricarico of Grade 11 describes as “felt like having landed on another planet”. This area is one of the most photographed areas in Iceland, as misty water is spewed from the land, creating an image that will never be forgotten. These fog water eruptions are formed by water flowing through cracks in the ground, reaching hot rock, and being thrown up to the surface of the ground.
Another key site seen by geographers was a broken bridge, the metal of which had actually been shattered by a glacier, something townspeople could only imagine! After seeing beautiful sights such as waterfalls, glaciers and pools of water, Wimbledon students were able to learn about the myths associated with these places, as ancient tales are something very common in the culture. Nordic. For example, Remy told how there was a myth of a treasure chest hidden under the ground of a huge landmass and a pool of water, which people have been diving into for years trying to reach this hidden treasure.
The Wimbledon students also had the opportunity to visit a lava center and an earthquake simulation center, which they found extremely interesting, as earthquakes and volcanic activity are things that Icelanders are forced to face very often. They also got to visit the lava tube, which was a cave formed when the lava flow solidifies over the years, and the girls actually got to experience complete darkness, which is incredibly difficult to simulate without being in one of these caves. Not for the faint of heart!
One of the things student Remy found interesting was that the North American and Eurasian plates that Iceland sits on, and the land above were formed by volcanoes from those tectonic plates releasing lava, which solidified, creating the country. Indeed, Iceland is growing due to the movement of the plates, by 2 centimeters per year!
Overall, the consensus of the group was that Iceland is a truly magical place to visit, as it is constantly changing, due to climate change. Rémy said “few other people will be able to see the mountains I saw, in the same way, in the future.”, and she became much more aware of the possible impacts of climate change, and for anyone interested in these changing conditions, Iceland would be the place for you.
By Sophie Temple Jones