On the fifteenth of October twenty senior students departed for a geography trip to Iceland.
This trip was organised with the purpose of exploring topics which students had covered in class such as plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, rock formation, coastal processes, glacial processes and fluvial processes. These are the key physical topics covered within the leaving certificate geography course which is worth approximately 30% of a student’s leaving certificate grade.
Students took in a tour of the South Shore of Iceland. Witnessing the amazing Skogafoss Waterfall, the black sand beaches and the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall which they were able to walk behind and see the inside view of a waterfall in motion. The black sand beaches of Vík í Mýrdal are among some of the wettest beaches in Iceland due to the extrememly large destructive waves which occur on it thanks in no small part to the large fetch created by the waves traveling across the Atlantic on their way to Iceland. At this location students could view the black basalt columns which line the beach as well as coastal features such as sea caves, stacks and stumps.
On our third day students enjoyed one of the most popular tours in Iceland – the Golden Circle Tour. This tour focused on the volcanic features which have created the island of Iceland. Stops included the þingvellir national park where students could see the Mid-Atlantic Ridge above ground, witnessing both the American plate and the Eurasian plate, the Gullfoss waterfall which is recognised as Iceland’s most beautiful and famous waterfall. The Strokkur geysir where students witnessed the powerful geyser in action as it gushes from the earth every five to seven minutes. A geothermal power plant, where students received a guided tour of the plant, learning how it operates and the uses of the hot water and electricity generated within it.
While the focus at all times was on geography, students did have the opporunty to unwind and appreciate the wonder of this volcanic island by enjoying a trip to the Blue Lagoon. Here students could appreciate the heat provided by the magma under the rocks and the silca released from volcanoes as they unwinded in the hot water with their silca facemasks.
The trip was a thoroughly enjoyable experience for all and has helped students to both appreciate and understand the amazing forces at work which help to shape the world as we know it.