Fire and Ice, part I

A popular jeu-de-mots here up north is: Iceland is green, and Greenland is icy. There’s a lot of truth of it: many parts of Iceland look very green indeed during the summer (and Greenland does look white, see the photographic evidence underneath). Other parts look dark, twisted and black – the vast desert expanse which is known as the Sandur in the south of the island for instance, consisting of black volcanic dust, moss covered basalt rock (solidified lava) and debris carried there by glacial rivers and flows. The beaches of the Sandur consist of black sand and are intersected by countless braided rivers and creeks; there are no settlements here and hardly any evidence of human presence – the fog plagued coastlines of the Sandur are rumored to be the grave of numerous ships that wrecked here throughout history and are attracting adventurous treasure hunters.
Fire and ice, indeed – the most recent major volcanic eruption upsetting the Sandur was in 1996, during which large sections of the Ring road highway, which encircles the island, washed away. On Iceland, The North-American and European tectonic plates meet, and are slowly pushed away from each other by magma and mantle material bubbling up from the insides of the earth.
But even more than of fire and ice, Iceland is the land of water: it is surrounded by oceans, blessed with countless waterfalls and glacial rivers, hot water bursting out of the soil, and then there’s the rain: it seems that it can rain almost any moment; weather changes rapidly and unpredictably.


Greenland


Iceland


Sunset in the Sandur


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