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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Revisiting Iceland: A Kentucky-Sized Place Where Geology is in Your Face at Every Turn

         A friend's trip to Iceland the past two weeks has reinspired a look at this Kentucky-sized land. My friend's description of her trip included words about geology staring one in the face at every turn. Young, changing, extraordinary geology is located next to the much older geology of Greenland.



     "Iceland is a manifestation of plate tectonic activity along a 10,000-mile underwater mountain range called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The island, which is about the size of the state of Kentucky, is only 15-20 million years old, making it one of the youngest landmasses of its size in the world, according to Ari Trausti Guðmundsson, a geophysicist, poet, and former Iceland presidential candidate."






     “If you hop over to Greenland, the bedrock is over 3,000 million years old,” says Guðmundsson, who guided Pitcairn during his expedition to Bárðarbunga and wrote the text, including 120 poems, in his book. “In comparison, Iceland is an infant.”



     "The Mid-Atlantic Ridge gives rise to Iceland’s volcanoes, one of its signature geological features. The country boasts 30 volcanic systems, which contain hundreds of active volcanoes. The natural upwelling of magma from beneath the ridge, as well as a mantle plume located almost right under the middle of the country, send billions of tons of lava surging through the bedrock annually, causing the country to expand about one inch per year, on average, according to Guðmundsson.





       Additional information about this geologist's dream country is located at this link. Hoping to get to Iceland before too many of the glaciers have melted.

        I am also fascinated by the unusual diacritical marks in the place and author names. It's also fun to see a geologist poet who ran for the presidency of Iceland! With a small population, I guess residents wear many hats. . .

        How about you; what about Iceland fascinates you?

Steph

57 comments:

  1. Can't turn around without running into Iceland these days. A few weeks ago, Michael Moore's new movie, Where to Invade Next, opened, featuring the country's prominence in leadership roles for women, from the corporate boardroom to the presidency. And now, the developing Panama Papers scandal, which seems to have toppled the Prime Minister.

    If global warming melts all the glaciers, will they have to change their name? (Not that continuing to call it Iceland is any worse that calling Greenland Greenland.) Lavaland sounds like a lava lamp in LaLa Land.

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    1. I know--Iceland is everywhere today.

      What about Mid-Atlantic-Ridge-Land? Too many hyphens?!

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  2. Is it ironic that the government of Iceland, on the border of the North American and Eurasian plates, may be brought down by revelations from Panama, on the border of North and South America (and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans)? Or just a silly coincidence?

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    1. Cosmic, man, cosmic. Ironic. Weird. Strange. Not at all silly.

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    2. And if a plane crashes right at the Four Corners of CO, UT, AZ, and NM, where are the survivors buried?

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    3. Hahaha, one does not bury survivors. Now, that is silly. . .

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  4. Just time for a few words about "a Kentucky-Sized Place". If you gave your average American an unlabeled satellite photo of North America, Greenland, and Iceland, do you think they'd have a better chance of drawing the outline of Kentucky on it than of labeling Iceland? What would John Oliver say?

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  5. It's not Panama, but it's kinda close. (Closer than Kentucky? Not sure.)
    When geologists study the output of volcanoes, do they ever detect onyx?

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    1. Thanks, Paul Oliver. ;-)

      All the time. . .I gave a Smith friend an onyx pendant to remind her to "Be onyx!" (a new regime.)

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  6. Replies
    1. Wow, so many good possibilities!

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    2. I wonder about applications of self-sealing polymers as part of the Whipple shield ("Please don't squeeze the charmin' spacecraft!") on, e.g., the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, launched to the ISS yesterday by SpaceX.

      If you haven't seen the landing of the Falcon 9 booster on the drone ship yet, you should.

      (And yes, the drone ship is named, "Of Course I Still Love You." They have another one, named, "Just Read The Instructions". Gotta love Elon Musk.)

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    3. Wow! Incredible landing! And great names. . .

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    4. Re: Bigelow Expandable Activity Module
      "Aye, 'tis a thing of beauty Cap'n"

      Re: landing
      A few of the YouTube commenters (an erudite bunch if there ever was one) had the same thought I did: "launch in reverse."
      I don't know; I wasn't there.
      I like to believe in good things happening. I think it's healthy to do so. Is that wrong?
      Re: the 'gibberish at the top of the screen' I mentioned about a week ago that probably puzzled you and I didn't know how to explain
      Look left.
      I thought, at first, it was an April Fool's joke, but have since decided it's something in my internet connection or my computer or Blogger or something.

      Apparently that's what it takes to get me to change my shirt.

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    5. Paul, you may be seeing different things than the rest of us. . .

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    6. Strange. I see just the regular heading for Partial Ellipsis of the Sun. No gobbledygook. . .

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    7. I think it may depend of what browser is used, and the various cookies found lying around.

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    8. Cookie clean-up on aisle 11, Paul?

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    9. Maybe it's because TheirChrome no longer supports TheirWindows7.
      But I confess to some 'nibbling'.
      Can I put my old shirt back on now?

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    10. Old shirt or a new new shirt? It's up to you, Paul.

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    11. Howsabout a provisional new shirt?

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    12. OK, I'll go with that ... provisionally.

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    13. Good. It's colorful.

      I like changing my shirt at least once a week.

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  7. Replies
    1. Vaya con Dios, Kepler.
      For whatever that's worth.

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  8. Replies
    1. Paul, about your new "shirt?"

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    2. It's my 'zebra shirt'. It's actually the one I was looking for the other day. I finally found it at the bottom of the drawer. I realize it's not very colorful, but look at it this way: 'drab' is 'bard' spelled backwards.
      Anyway, this is the Christina Rossetti poem I had in mind.

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    3. A poem about passing wind? I'm sure I have one in a book of limericks on a shelf somewhere.

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    4. It's simple and lovely. Thanks, Paul.

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  9. Replies
    1. No Pseudogymnoascus destructans problem, I see, with those brown-nosed Brown big brown bats.

      Humans have stepedius and tensor tympani muscles in the middle ear that contract to reduce transmission of sound to the inner ear. I assume bats have a (more effective) similar mechanism. I'd bet that dolphins, sperm whales, and other echo-locating cetaceans do, too.

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    2. Brownie points, jan!

      Interesting about the middle ear, too. I know a bit about the middle earth but little about the middle ear. . .

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    3. You should make it a hobbit to learn a little more each day. You'll be a wizard in no time!

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  10. Zoë is traveling to Senegal today from Ethiopia. Without looking it up, guess how many miles from Addis Ababa to Dakar. . .It's a trip you most assuredly want to go via airplane.

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    1. Africa is wider than Kentucky.

      My niece, who's spending a year in Delhi, took a side trip to Nairobi last month. A shorter trip, but still longer than I'd guess.

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    2. Yeah, distances across Africa blew me away!

      Did your niece enjoy Nairobi, jan?

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    3. Yeah, cleaner and quieter than Delhi.

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  11. Go, Inky!

    And can we all please try to keep led and lead sorted out?
    "One theory is that Inky slid across the aquarium floor – a journey of three or four metres – and then, sensing freedom was at hand, into a drainpipe that lead directly to the sea." [WRONG!]
    "Another possible escape route could have involved Inky squeezing into an open pipe at the top of his tank, which led under the floor to the drain." [Right!]

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    1. Cool article, Paul. My sisters and I used to create stories about Inky, the dog. Inky was pretty great til we got Wilbur, the puppy, on Christmas morning one year. Thanks for leading me to that memory. :-)

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    2. As they should say at the Flint, MI, library, better read than lead.

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    3. I've seen this one. It's worth another look.

      Glad you used the correct plural octopuses; always wondered why octopi got so much mileage. How can we be led down that incorrect path, anyway?!

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    4. It's all Greek to me. "Octopi" is misused enough to earn it a place in dictionary. "Octopodes" (the "e" isn't silent) sounds pedantic.

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  12. New post on "The Tully (Not Telly) Monster was a VERTEBRATE (!) Extremely Well Preserved in Siderite" is now up.

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  13. I would love to visit Iceland. I think the Smith College Alumnae Chorus should tour there.

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    1. Smith alumnae should have no problem with some of the local rules of etiquette. Others, however, apparently....

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