Our Science Explorer itinerary provides ample opportunity for study of the following topics.
SUSTAINABLE & RENEWABLE ENERGY
Iceland plans to become the world’s first hydrogen economy, eventually using 100% renewable energy. Take a guided tour of a geothermal power station and a hydroelectric station; view the world’s first hydrogen filling station, plus join a whale watching trip on a hydrogen fuelled boat! Also learn how Iceland is ingeniously using geothermal energy to grow exotic fruits and plants.
UNIQUE ECOSYSTEMS & WILDLIFE
The very nature of Iceland’s isolated location, climate, geology, volcanic and geothermal activity means that it provides a unique habitat for vegetation and wildlife. Iceland is an ideal destination for marine and terrestrial studies and the investigation of evolution and speciation. Explore the evolution of the Arctic Charr from one species to four sub-species at Lake Thingvallavatn, an instance found nowhere else on Earth. Observe a plethora of cetaceans from the white beaked dolphin to the blue whale and uncover an array of birdlife including waterfowl, waders and a wide variety of sea birds (season dependent).
HOT SPRING & GEYSER CHEMISTRY
The sight of an erupting geyser is never to be forgotten! Study the physics and chemistry of geothermal water and the role of silicon dioxide deposits in geyser formation.
HOT SPRING ECOLOGY
Measure the abiotic factors at various hot springs and compare the different types of microorganisms. With varying temperatures and PH levels, these geothermal features provide unique habitats for diverse groups of thermophilic life. Hot springs in Iceland are being studied in the hope of discovering unique and unknown species of microorganisms. Enzymes isolated from thermophilic bacteria have found a number of interesting applications in the biotechnology industry.
THE BLUE LAGOON
This world-famous geothermal lagoon is set amidst a field of black basalt lava with powder-blue waters rich in silica and sulphur that average between 35-40°C, perfect for bathing and further study. Investigate through DNA mapping how 60% of the 200 different microorganisms found in the water are new species and examine the beneficial properties of algae and silica mud extracts in protecting the skin from UVB-induced damage.
AURORA BOREALIS / NORTHERN LIGHTS
The aurora appear when solar wind particles collide with molecules in the earth’s atmosphere, transferring their energy into light. Displays can vary in intensity – from a hint of pulsating green to a spectacular multicoloured fusion stretching across the sky. Learn about the physics behind this mesmerising phenomena.
Iceland experiences some of the most extensive soil erosion in the world which is caused by a combination of a lack of vegetation cover, steep terrain, high rainfall, frequent volcanic activity and over-exploitation of the land. Take a guided tour around a soil conservation site to learn how desertification affects plant species diversity and about measures taken to reduce erosion and reclaim eroded land.
PLATE TECTONICS & VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS
Iceland’s unique landscape owes much to its position on the Mid Atlantic Ridge – the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Widening by approximately 2.5 centimetres a year, the effects of this phenomenon provide an excellent opportunity to study the physical properties of waves, forces and movements.
Iceland is the home to a wealth of volcanic activity and the recent volcanic eruptions have provided school groups with fascinating case studies as well as the chance to witness a live eruption.
TEMPERATE ICECAPS IN CHANGING CLIMATES
Glaciers cover 11% of Iceland. They are rapidly shrinking. Here your studies will provide good examples of atomic structure, isotopes, analysis techniques and evidence for climate change. On request take a visit to the Icelandic Meteorological Office and learn about their latest Climate Impact Assessment for Iceland.
With contrasting extreme environments, Iceland provides different examples of ecological succession. Study changes in plant species distribution at varying distances from a glacier or from a hot spring.
About this Tour
Iceland School Trips Mapclick for larger map »
“Iceland is an amazing...full of stunning scenery and interesting sights which support the delivery of both Science and Geography in the curriculum.”John Naylor, Brinsworth Comprehensive School Show Me More»