Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Iceland: Part 2 - enchanted landscapes

Something these photos can't convey is the sheer expanse and size of the landscape in Iceland.

Vast lava fields stretch out at the feet of commanding mountains, topped by melodramatic clouds.

Iceland

This is the southwest region, where I felt mythical giants would rise up from their slumber at any moment.  The earth is very much alive and constantly moving and changing.

Iceland

A glacier flows down from a mountain, carving a valley as it heads for the sea.

Glacier

Volcanic activity is obvious, as jagged mountains shoot straight up towards the sky.  The tiny white specks in the bottom right of this photo are sheep.

Glacier

Farms nestle in the lowlands, directly beneath the volcanic monsters that could spring to life at any moment.

Iceland

Melting glaciers turn to rivers and streams that meander through flat grassy terrain.  Below, the horizontal dark line of rock on the far side of the river is one of the fault lines separating the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.  This area is stretching apart.

Thingvellir - Icelandic continenental rift valley

Everywhere I looked, the scene was more breathtaking than the last.  This is a place to really witness the earth in action.

Glacier

Volcanic steam rises from hot springs...

Steaming hot springs

Despite the continuous threat of volcanic eruptions and flooding, farms prosper.  Here, a field of wheat grows between the mountains and ocean.

Wheat field in Iceland

The landscape changes from moment to moment - the sun shines, then disappears.  Clouds roll in , then retreat.  Rain pummels the countryside, then is driven away by forceful winds.  It's ancient and brand new at the same time.

On the road in Iceland 

More to come...