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Iceland Is Getting Bigger – Holidays To Iceland, A Geological Wonder

Iceland Is Getting Bigger – Holidays To Iceland, A Geological Wonder

Article by Vikki Beale

A growing number of visitors are taking Iceland holidays to see the country’s impressive collection of natural wonders – the kind you once heard about in a Geography classroom. The package holidays Iceland offers include walking on volcanoes and glaciers, swimming in hot pools, and seeing the place where the world gets wider.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Holidays to Iceland offer a rare opportunity to witness a phenomenon that is usually concealed by 3,400 metres of Atlantic waters. A mid-ocean ridge crosses dry land here, so Iceland holiday makers get to see the join of two continental plates and the canyons that form where the ground is splitting. This means that as the plates grow apart Iceland is getting wider at a rate of about 5 cm per year.

Working-up a Lava

This creative power is evident in the nearby island of Surtsey. The island rose from the ocean floor after a series of eruptions between 1963 and 1968. The “lava bombs” and volcanic material cooled and hardened to form one of the world’s newest landmasses, at one point growing at the rate of an acre per day. Unfortunately there will be no holidays to Iceland’s little brother; visits to Surtsey are restricted to those conducting scientific research.

Since a volcano erupts here an average of once every five years there are many chances for those on Iceland holidays to walk on a lava landscape: black rippled sheets of what once was lava, floods of basalt and ash, and fields of ‘scoria’, which are areas of uneven – almost bubbly – volcanic rock. Some of those who take holidays to Iceland talk about how much it looks like a moon landscape.

Hot & Cold Running Water

But it’s the eruptions occurring every five or ten minutes that will feature on the itineraries of most package holidays. Iceland is famous for its geysers, especially for those at the town of Geysir, after which the hot fountains are named. Some of these plumes spurt frequently; others do not show for years before blasting boiling water sixty metres into the air.

For the water moving in the other direction, Iceland delivers generously, too. The Gullfoss waterfall, and the ‘Queen of Iceland’ waterfall provide wonderful attractions for Iceland holidays; the thunderous Dettifoss goes one further, claiming the title of the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The volume of Iceland’s water system is enhanced by meltwater drawn from its glaciers. Glaciers, too, are water on the move in a sense, but their power is less obvious at a glance. Though they appear hardly to move, their sheer size and the magnitude of erosion that they force upon the landscape (such as the fjords) is difficult to ignore.

More than a tenth of Iceland’s area is covered by glaciers at some point during the year, so this provides ample opportunity for tourists to explore the strange and captivating ice-landscape. Iceland holidays might include hikes across a glacier, or organised trips on snowmobiles or a tour in larger vehicles across the larger glacial areas.

When glaciers meet the ocean they put on yet another show. Seeing and hearing their ice walls crumble into the water is quite a spectacle and boat trips to see this happening in the fjords can be added to some specialist holidays. Iceland is always in flux it seems, whether it is melting, moving, exploding or growing, it makes itself a prize destination for seeing this world’s geological phenomena in force.

About the Author

Vikki Beale is a holiday expert for iceland2go, a specialist operator providing holidays to Iceland and Greenland. We provide luxury tailor-made itineraries and the finest package holidays Iceland can offer, with sights including glaciers, geysers, fjords, and the Northern Lights.