Iceland – travel day/night

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May 8, 2013 by Dr. G

It’s funny that today, of all days, I have several links about volcanic eruptions and Iceland appearing in my Twitter feed. Examples include:

Maybe I should start following the Icelandic volcanoes on Twitter, too (yes, volcanoes exist on Twitter!). There are tweets coming from @HeklaVolcano, @KatlaVolcano, @Eyjafjalla, @Eyjafjallajokul, @grimsvotn, and even @theashcloud. But, there is no time to turn back now! It’s off to Iceland!

So, how does one spend their time on a flight to Iceland? My first flight was only one-and-a-half hours, which didn’t leave me much time to work on the computer (by the time I can turn on my “portable electronic devices” and then have to power them down for landing). I decided to dive back in to a book I read some years ago to immerse myself in some Icelandic history (of course, the book was on my Kindle, so I had the same power challenges). For those of you that have not read John McPhee’s Control of Nature, I strongly encourage you to read this nonfiction account of three attempts by humans to control natural processes. Written for a general audience, one of the book sections details how in 1973 the residents of Heimaey, Iceland, saved their harbor by spraying water on the volcanic lava flow threatening to close it off. If you do not have quick access to the book, check out the Google Earth summary of the text in a geospatial context, available on the Pennsylvania Earth Science Teachers Association (PAESTA) website and designed by Sara Neville, Penn State Brandywine alumna. Below is a short video clip that summarizes the eruption event.

My goal for the second flight, from Boston to Keflavík International Airport (Iceland’s main airport) was to get some sleep! I knew I was going to land at 6:30AM Reykjavík time, which is four hours ahead of Philadelphia – meaning, it would feel as if it was 2:30AM for me. Yikes – that’s not a good time of the day for me to be functional, but I had no choice – I had to get off the plane, exchange some currency at the airport, catch a shuttle to my hotel, and get ready to meet my group in a few hours to start our short course.  I was so lucky the hotel let me check in to my room at 8AM (thank you, Fosshotel Lind!).  I was able to grab a quick shower and some breakfast (the hotel has a free breakfast buffet every morning).  I’m now getting ready to join the group to start with an orientation to the city!

Not the best photo (but it was taken out of the window of a moving bus). My first glimpse of basaltic fields as far as the eye can see, and perhaps a geothermal power plant in the distance!

Not the best photo (but it was taken out of the window of a moving bus). My first glimpse of basaltic fields as far as the eye can see, and perhaps a geothermal power plant in the distance!

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