Programs by Country: Iceland


Iceland: Field Study of Volcanic and Glacial Processes *CLOSED*

Dialogue of Civilizations | , Iceland

Faculty Leader: Mal Hill (m.hill@neu.edu)
Study Abroad Coordinator: Daisy Biddle (d.biddle@neu.edu)
Information Session: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:00-7:00PM Room 231 Forsyth Building
Monday, October 28, 2013 6:00-7:00PM Room 231 Forsyth Building
Term: Summer II
Courses: 
  • ENVR 5201 Geologic Field Seminar
  • ENVR 5202 Environmental Science Field Seminar Abroad

Description: 

Iceland’s location on an active plate boundary (the Mid-Atlantic Ridge) and its location near the Arctic Circle makes it a great destination for environmental field study of young lava flows and volcanoes; older, uplifted and more deeply eroded rocks to the east and west sides of the active rifts; and study of both modern and ancient glacial processes.  Volcanic landforms and eruption styles differ, depending on whether magma erupts on land, beneath the ice, or flows into water, and we study examples that formed in each environment.  Glaciers erode the landscape, transport and deposit sediments, and melt gradually to form rivers (much of Iceland’s electricity derives from hydropower).  Sometimes, when lava erupts beneath a glacier, rapid melting of the base of the glacier forms disruptive, magma-induced floods (known as jökulhlaup).  In addition to focusing separately on volcanic and glacial processes, we will consider the ways that magma and groundwater interact to create geothermal energy; how magma and glaciers interact; and how Icelandic society is influenced by these and other environmental factors.  This is a field-based experience, and most days involve some or much hiking to get to and from the study area for that day.  We spend most nights in tents in campgrounds, and Iceland is known for having occasionally windy and rainy weather.  Interested students can contact Mal Hill (m.hill@neu.edu) in the Department of Marine & Environmental Sciences for additional information.


REYKJAVIK: Reykjavik University – Sustainability in Iceland

Traditional | Reykjavik, Iceland

Study Abroad Coordinator: Colleen Boyle (c.boyle@neu.edu)

Dates: Summer I

The purpose of this course is to explore sustainable development and its implications by studying the economic history of Iceland, particularly with regard to the part played by renewable energy and commercial fishing, land use and tourism from the 20th century onwards.  Iceland offers an interesting case for study.  This volcanic island was first settled in the 9th century, and over the course of a few hundred years of human activity, the long term equilibrium of the island was disrupted causing severe environmental degradation.  By the turn of the 20th century Iceland was one of the poorest countries in Europe.  Over the course of the last hundred years, utilization of Iceland‘s considerable resources has allowed a remarkable transformation of the country, which now enjoy‘s a standard of living among the best in the world and is considered a leader in the sustainable use of natural resources.  The relatively small size and simplicity of the Icelandic economy makes it particularly understandable and suitable for analysis.