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  • Peggy Simonsen

Glaciers Galore!

I have walked, skied, and slid down glaciers on four continents, but a new experience in Iceland was walking on a black glacier. Iceland’s Myrdalsjokull Glacier, called Katla, is on a volcano whose last eruption in 1920 covered it with ash. We took a “super Jeep” ride with a knowledgeable guide across the base of lava and ice, and hiked a mile or so up and across the otherworldly landscape of black mountains of ice. Of course it is melting, so we had to cross some rivulets running off. Our guide used an ice ax to cut thru the ash to clean ice beneath, filling glasses with ancient glacial ice cubes and a shot of Icelandic vodka! So we toasted (Skäl) our visit to this amazing place.

Iceland has six glaciers, and Greenland is 90% covered with glaciers, with just the narrow coasts inhabitable. We took a small boat out among the ice bergs in a fjord on the east coast of Greenland. They are not as big as the bergs off Antarctica, but still amazing to see in summer. Greenland’s ice is melting so fast, there is concern about it adding to the ocean’s rise and changing the temperature of the north Atlantic Ocean. Flying over in a helicopter gives a panoramic view of the scope of floating ice among the islands. Along the coasts, the rocky mountains that have lost their glaciers show the scraping of the ice over millennia, with little growing on them. Another great experience on Snow and Ice!

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