29. April, 2016

Icelandic glaciers

Iceland is often called the land of fire and ice. Fire referring to the volcanic activity on the island and ice meaning the many glaciers all around the island. Icelandic glaciers cover about 11% of the Icelandic land area and are located all around. The glaciers put a significant mark on Icelandic nature, being so many and also being alive and ever changing. In spring time their water flushes forward and can cause problems for both road systems, humans and farm animals. Also, many glaciers lie above volcanoes and when volcanic activity occurs under the glacier, melted glacier water can lead to a sudden glacial lake or a flood.

The definition of a glacier is an extended mass of ice formed from snow falling and accumulating over the years and moving very slowly, either descending from high mountains, as in valley glaciers, or moving outward from centers of accumulation, as in continental glaciers. In Icelandic the word for glacier is „jökull“, you will see it in all the glacier‘s names, like Langjökull, meaning the Long Glacier (it is the longest one!).

The glaciers in Iceland are used for recreation and play, both for Icelanders and tourists. Glacier activities in Iceland have always been very popular. But we need to take care and follow instructions, because the glaciers are “alive”. They move. Very slowly, but those amazing crevasses have their own way and it‘s important to follow the guidelines of an experienced glacier guide.

There are 13 glaciers in Iceland. Some big, like the biggest one in Europe; Vatnajokull, and others small like our smallest one Snaefellsjokull. The second biggest glacier in Iceland is our favourite; Langjökull, where you can enjoy going with us Into The Glacier and experience the magnificence and mystic of the glaciers first hand from the inside.

 

Here you can see a list Icelandic glaciers, including how big and high over sea level:

GLACIER SIZE km2 METERS ABOVE SEA LEVEL
Vatnajökull 8300 2109
Langjökull 953 1360
Hofsjökull 925 1765
Mýrdalsjökull 596 1493
Drangajökull 160 925
Eyjafjallajökull 78 1666
Tungnafellsjökull 48 1535
Þórisjökull 32 1350
Eiríksjökull 22 1672
Þrándarjökull 22 1236
Tindfjallajökull 19 1462
Torfajökull 15 1190
Snæfellsjökull 11 1446

 

Unfortunately, the glaciers in Iceland are getting smaller due to climate change. Some have already disappeared like the Okjökull in Borgarfjörður, close to Langjökull. It is the first glacier to lose its title to be a glacier, and is now simply known as the mountain Ok.

Into The Glacier is proud to take responsibility of their transportation up to the glacier and back, by carbon offsetting their transportation. Travellers can minimize the carbon footprint of their visit Into The Glacier by donating ISK 500 (est. USD 4) for a tree that will be planted in special Kolvidur forest in Husafell area, next to Langjokull.