Exploring the vents, ridges, rocks, and geothermal spas of the Reykjanes Peninsula



Renting a submarine to explore the deepsea basalt lava flows of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a pricey proposition. But on a field trip to Iceland's Reykjanes Peninsula following the Chapman Conference on Volcanism and the Atmosphere, participants were able to stay on dry land to explore the volcanic features of the ridge where the Eurasian and North American plates are spreading apart. “If you're interested in ocean ridge basalt, the Reykjanes Ridge is your place,” said Karl Grönvold, a geochemist with the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland. Grönvold led the daylong field trip to geologic sites of interest in southwest Iceland, including the ridge, fumaroles, boiling hot pots, and the geothermal spa and power plant at the Blue Lagoon.