Iceland

Iceland the land of fire and ice, is probably the most famous volcano destination.

Iceland sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and also sits on top of the Iceland hot spot, a plume of heated mantle that means there is more melting underneath, and more volcanoes.

In winter it is a hostile place often covered entirely in snow.

Iceland (coloured for different vegetation, snow and Ice cover). Image Credit: Dougal Jerram.

There are many active volcanoes on Iceland and many sit along the segments of the Mid-Alantic Ridge, which you can see on land and even dive underwater to look at (see the back of your postcard).

Tanno and Iguda have a lot to see on Iceland, and Dr Volcano has provided pictures from his expeditions to help.

Iceland in Winter. Image Credit NASA
Iceland on the Mid-Atlantic Rift. Dr Volcano showing the rift valley exposed on land. Image Credit Dougal Jerram.

Energy from the ground.

The volcanic heat around Iceland leads to many hydrothermal vents, geysirs and mud pools.

The locals have harnessed the heat to produce electricity from hydrothermal power stations. They also use the thermal heat to bake bread and the hot pools to relax in.

Image Credit: Dougal Jerram


There was a really important eruption on Iceland between 2014 -2015, where the start of the volcanic eruption was predicted by following the magma moving underground and creating mini earthquakes. Dr Volcano and a team visited it in 2014 (see the spectacular eruption images).

Pictures of the 2014–2015 eruption of Holuhraun taken by Dr Volcano and a team visiting the site in Sept 2014.
Image Credits: Dougal Jerram and the team (Sverre Planke, John Millett and Morgan Jones).

The earthquakes provide a location and magnitude which can be shown in 3D with the circle size relative to how big the earthquake was.

3D location of earthquakes leading up to the Holuhraun eruption. Image Credit: Adapted from Volcanoes of Europe by Jerram, Scarth & Tanguy 2017 (created using 3D Bulge with data from Iceland Met Office, thanks to Baering Steinþórsson)

As Tanno and Iguda were writing the postcard from Iceland, a new eruption had started on the Reykjanes peninsula on Iceland. Again the volcano preceded by many earthquakes and Bæring was on hand to show their 3D locations.

Looks like the eruption could go on for some time in 2021. It has turned into somewhat of a tourist volcano, with many people going to see it (some even getting married by it). Look at this spectacular drone footage and you can see what draws people in to see it …..WOW!!


Activity

Build your own Volcano!! Using what you are learning and some household resources, you can build yourself a volcano model. This can be fairly small using plasticine or you can build up a detailed model with papier-mâché, cardboard, wire mesh, paints and other craft resources.

The model example below was constructed by Izabel Jerram (‘Mini Dr Volcano’). As you can see, she has used a wire and cardboard base which is then covered in papier-mâché. Then it is painted over to show some of the key volcano features. She has even used some wool for a pyroclastic eruption and some pipe cleaners and real bits of rock for a strombolian eruption.
Also you can make it such that you can see a cross section into the inside of the volcano.
There are loads of different volcanoes so, ultimately, you can design yours however you want.

Volcano model building. Image Credits Dougal and Izzy Jerram.

Now you should look around the internet for some inspiration as well, as there are many different styles and types of volcano you might want to make a model of. (Hint, the USGS volcano cartoon below is a good starting point for some of the key features).

Diagram showing lots of volcano science concepts; Image credit: adapted from USGS
Image credit: adapted from USGS

You can go to the previous Volcanoes secret pages by clicking the places below.

StromboliVesuvius/PompeiiErta Ale