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The Diocese of
Westminster Academy Trust

Geography Overseas Field Trip to Iceland

The Geography Department at Douay Martyrs School  took 19 Year 9 students to Iceland this May. It was the first time Douay Martyrs students got to experience this ‘Land of Ice and Fire’. Day One involved a tour of Iceland’s Capital City Reykjavik with its quirky, somewhat bohemian and laid back cafes, restaurants, shops, churches and Parliament Building.

During Day Two we did the Golden Circle Tour in South West Iceland. The Golden Circle includes some of Iceland’s most stunning sights. Our tour guide escorted us to see the famous ‘Strokkur’ Geysir shoot a column of water up to 30 metres into the air every 4-8 minutes! We also visited the magnificent Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall, created where the river Hvítá tumbles and plunges into a crevice some 32 m deep. This full day also included the historical and geological wonder that is Þingvellir National Park where you can walk between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates which are pulling apart at a rate of a few centimetres per year. Walking around a volcanic crater that had amazing colours in it of red, green and the blue of the Crater Lake, was another real highlight of this trip as you can see from our group photo.

Day Three was the South Shore Day where we drove along the south coast of Iceland, one of the country´s most scenic regions. Along the way we stopped at the majestic Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which is unique in that you can walk behind it and through to the other side (if it’s not icy). This is where Justin Bieber filmed his music video for the song ‘I’ll show you’. We also stopped and compared this with the dramatic and much-photographed Skógafoss waterfall, with its 60m drop.

Iceland is full of so many outstanding geological features because there is also the stunning Mýrdalsjökull glacier, and we approached its glacial snout Solheimajokull (Home of the Sun Glacier), providing us with an excellent group opportunity to discuss the ongoing processes taking place there.

Students also went to Reynisfjara, a black volcanic beach with its dramatic basalt columns rising up from the shore. There is a great view of the stunning Reynisdrangar rock formations rising up from the sea just off shore where students remembered some of their geography lessons on coastal erosional landforms.

Day Four involved going for a dip in the gorgeous Blue Lagoon! This stunning lagoon is pleasantly warm (38°C) with mineral-rich geothermal water in the middle of a black lava field. The high natural levels of silica and minerals give the Lagoon its rich blue colour. The water originates 2,000 metres below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combines at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at a nearby geothermal power plant.

Altogether we had an absolutely fantastic four days within this geographer’s paradise which I am sure the students will remember for the rest of their lives!

Miss R. Ali – Geography Teacher.