Programs by Country: Iceland + Dialogue of Civilizations
Dialogue of Civilizations | , Iceland
- ENVR 5201 Geologic Field Seminar
- ENVR 5202 Environmental Science Field Seminar Abroad
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Department of Marine & Environmental Sciences for additional information.