Amazing Adventures in Iceland

OBA’s students have been waiting with eager anticipation over the last year for their adventure to Iceland, the first trip of its kind to be organised by the Geography Department.

Iceland visit

After a comfortable flight to Iceland, the excited students who were accompanied by Geography teachers Mike Chiles, Andrea Connolly and Carl Butcher, stopped off at the North American and Eurasian plate to take in a view of geological grandeur. They stood in Thingvellir, a sweeping valley surrounded by majestic cliffs; the valley is one tiny portion of a long seam between tectonic plates that runs the length of the Atlantic Ocean where steam rises from volcanically heated waters.

The students learnt that in Iceland, this seam, called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, makes a brief appearance over land before disappearing again beneath the sea. They discovered that the ridge is essentially a volcanic seam, many thousands of miles long, where magma is seen from deep inside the Earth, creating new crust and pushing tectonic plates apart. At Thingvellir, they could put one foot on the North American plate and one foot on the Eurasian plate, which moves at a rate of about 2.5 cms per year.

The next day, everyone headed off to walk behind a waterfall where they got soaked by the spray.They followed this with a walk along a glacier wearing crampons and carrying ice axes with them. Everyone then went off to see one of Iceland’s many famous black beaches with its caves, arches, stacks, stumps and powerful sneaker waves, where they even saw a seal hunting.

The accommodation on the trip was on a farm so, after dinner, they sat in a field in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights which, unfortunately, didn't happen that night - but instead they did experience a 3.6 magnitude earthquake!

After another early rise on Saturday, everyone set off to the Secret Lagoon, a pool heated naturally by magma. The Secret Lagoon’s natural hot springs are located in a small village called Fludir and are in the Golden Circle area. The pool’s natural surroundings and steam rising into the air gave the place a magical feeling and the students found out that the warm water stays at 38-40 Celsius all year. In the whole area there are several geothermal spots and a little geyser which erupts every 5 minutes, which could be seen by those relaxing in the hot spring.

The next part of the adventure was a trip to Gulfoss waterfall, one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland followed by a memorable visit to one of Iceland’s three National Parks.

To end this breath-taking trip, a visit to Reykjavik was the next thing on the agenda and, just when everyone thought things couldn’t get any better, they all witnessed the magnificence of the Northern Lights dancing across the night sky - a spectacle they would never forget!

Mr Mike Chiles, Head of Geography said:

"This was a truly unbelievable trip that our students will never forget.  They had saved hard to be able to go to Iceland and every one of them was amazed by what they saw.  We now look forward to discussing their experiences with the rest of our students in Geography lessons and in assemblies."