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Strange Planet: Iceland’s Louvre of Lava

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In our April issue, our Geotourism Editor Jonathan Tourtellot returned to Iceland to see how things have changed since Eyjafjallajökull blew its top. Photographer Brooks Walker traveled in his footsteps and couldn’t resist this shot of these basalt formations at Jökulsárgljúfur gorge in Vatnajökull National Park, the largest national park in Iceland.
From the story, “Life Atop a Cauldron”:

Under Vatnajökull, an upwelling plume of magma — a hot spot — from the Earth’s mantle feeds the volcano Grímsvötn, which erupted in 1996, 1998, and 2004. The ’04 outburst melted through some 500 feet of ice in an hour and sent up a blast of ash that reached Finland. Some geologists say the hot spot may be breaking apart the Earth’s crust like a spike splitting a weak plank. If there is a point where Europe and North America are truly wedged apart, it’s here.

For more of Brooks Walker’s photos from the story, click here.

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