If there’s only one thing to do when you visit Iceland, go ice caving. The glaciers in Iceland are famous for their beauty and mystery. No wonder why there’s so many films and TV shows that have been filmed in Iceland. If you are a fan of film director Christopher Nolan, you are definitely able to recognise those remarkable scenes in his movies like BATMAN BEGINS (2005) and INTERSTELLAR (2014) [Source: Guide to Iceland] that were filmed in Iceland. More specifically, Svínafellsjökull glacier, located at the South-East of Iceland.
Svínafellsjökull is where we went for ice caving in Iceland. The tour itself was knowledgeable and well-organized. The tour we joined didn’t really require too much physical strength. It was more like a general glacier exploration tour. Still, you need to make an effort to climb on ice and it required a bit of technique. I’m not going to cover that part here as I’m not a professional. If you are interested, visit the website of Glacier Guide [Link: http://www.glacierguides.is/] you can book your desired tour online, and all tour guides are English speakers and very well-trained.
So after doing some ice climbing, we finally arrived at the highest spot for general visitors (you need to be more advanced for getting into deeper and higher areas). The view on the glacier simply made us speechless. The time we arrived was about 11 a.m., it still looked like the day was breaking. However, it was great that we were able to see the amazing view properly.
I’ve never taken a picture like this before in my life; the gigantic, magnificent, immense glacier was entirely naked and exposed to the eyes of mine. Those bleak and blue frozen ridges formed by glaciers created an icy mountainous landscape. The atmosphere was simply full of spirit and energy. Everyone tried not to talk too loud as if we feared to waken those little winter elves.
However, something that really shocked us was when we eventually entered the ice cave. It was such a ridiculously small ice cave which shouldn’t be like that during December. To be honest, it wasn’t extremely cold and wintry like it should be. The impact of climate change is a true reality.
When we talk about the climate situation of Iceland most of you may only think of the volcano eruption in the past few years, but glaciers in Iceland are getting weaker and gradually disappearing. Have a look at these photos taken by Guðmundur Ögmundsson (Skaftafell National Park manager) in 2012 and 2017. The glacier behind the hill had been disappearing. [Source: RÚV]
At the same time, the island is rising rapidly due to glaciers melting according to a study published by the University of Arizona [Link: Climate-driven vertical acceleration of Icelandic crust measured by continuous GPS geodesy]:
…Although most large ice caps in Iceland overlie volcanic centers, subglacial volcanic eruptions and geothermal heat flow account for less than 5% of the total observed ice melt…Thus, ~95% of the total ice melt in Iceland is likely the result of climate…
….recent findings indicate that decompression melting due to deglaciation could result in an increase in the volume of erupted volcanics as much as one 2010 Eyjafjallajökull-sized eruption every 7 years…It follows that accelerated ice loss could lead to more rapid decompression melting and higher volumes of erupted material, which could have global economic impacts. Furthermore, there is likely to be a horizontal signal associated with the melt-related rapid uplift and uplift acceleration. Although these horizontal motions will be much smaller than the observed vertical motion…they could provide a small correction to current plate spreading rate estimates.
Iceland’s glaciers (white) are melting faster and faster. As a result, the Icelandic crust near the glaciers is rebounding at an accelerated rate. [Source: LiveScience]
Global warming and climate change is seriously and brutally happening now. If you are a traveler like me, you surely don’t want to see that amazing glacial view disappear. Start to do something today for the environment and I wish we can still be able to see and explore those beautiful glacial views in Iceland in the future.