30 very excited boys set off this morning on the trip of a lifetime – to Iceland. Led by Mr Iqbal, Head of Science, the trip is an opportunity for the boys to see science in action. Mr Dawes, Head of Geography, will ensure they also get some geographical input. Let’s hope this doesn’t include erupting volcanoes! Tonight they are scheduled to see The Northern Lights, but with rain on the forecast today this might not be possible – the forecast is better for the rest of the trip. We hope to get regular updates & photos and will update this article regularly.
Just after 5.00 in the evening, the party had landed safely and were making their way to the hotel. On the way to the hotel they stopped off at an ancient church. Once at the hotel they enjoyed their meal and even remembered it was Matthew’s birthday (he got a cake). After the rather flat scenery they saw today it will be more exciting tomorrow – glaciers, waterfalls and a volcanic beach are all scheduled.
Setting off from Hvolsvollur, where they are based, the group went to Seljaiandsfoss waterfall, where some of them got wet! This is a waterfall that is 200 feet high and you can walk behind it – very spectacular! They then went to Reynishverfi beach – black sand, thanks to the volcanoes, with a sea view of sea stacks and Dyrolaey, a penisular with a good example of an arch (a bit like Durdle Door in Dorset). Finally they went to Solheimajokull a glacier tongue that lies south of Myradaisjokull Glacier. Instead of looking at this from a distance they went for a walk on the glacier. In Mr Iqbal’s words ” It has been totally amazing! All the boys are fine and well. We have been soo (not a spelling error) lucky with the weather.” The day ended with the party seeing the Northern Lights – a fantastic view. They had an issue with cameras, but thankfully Sergey had taken his and got some great pictures. Well done Sergey!
Another exciting day in Iceland, starting with a visit to the Kerid crater – a perfect minature volcano that errupted 3000 years ago. The crater now has a lake inside it where the water level varies due to fluctuations in the water table. They then went to the Gullfoss Waterfall, one of the most impressive in Europe. This was an excellent opportunity for Mr Dawes to show his Geography expertise as it is a classic example of waterfall formation caused by a resistant basalt cap rock. (Those Year 6 Scientists should also know exactly what that means!) The party then moved on to the Strokkur geyser which spouts up to 25m every 5-7 minutes. Why so much volcanic activity you might ask? Well in Pingvellir National Park, their next destination, they found out. The canyon that runs through the park forms the meeting point of two of the Earth’s tectonic plates and gave everyone a unique opportunity to see the mid Atlantic Ridge. The last port of call was Hellisheldi Power Station, which uses geothermal energy to produce power. Overall another fantastic day with beautiful weather and some great views. The boys also had great enjoyment spending some of their pocket money – but with Mars bars costing £2.50, I doubt if they will be bringing many presents home! In the evening the Northern Lights were spectacular – they could clearly be seen from the hotel.
The last day. The highlight of today was the visit to The Blue Lagoon. The geothermal water originates 2,000 metres below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at a nearby geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities.
On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals. When the water emerges, its temperature is generally between 37°C and 40°C (98-104°F). But owing to variables outside of human control – including weather and time of year – the water temperature sometimes fluctuates beyond this range. Why is it blue? The geothermal water has a unique composition, featuring three active ingredients – Silica, Algae & Minerals.The blue colour comes from the silica and the way it reflects sunlight. During summer there can also be a hint of green in the water. This is the result of the algae, which multiplies quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. However, and this might come as a surprise to you, the water is actually white. If you pour it into a transparent cup, it will always have a milky white colour. The sun simply makes it look blue! The boys certainly enjoyed their time in the water – will it have made a difference to their skin?! The coach arrived back at Lockers at 10:25pm.
Many thanks to Mr Iqbal, Mrs Ashburner and Mr & Mrs Dawes for taking them on such a fantastic trip.