Geography Trip to Iceland and New York

Our Sixth Form geography students have returned from the most incredible field trip to Iceland and New York.  Here is an account of the trip by Mr Baker, Head of Geography.


Sunday 29th October

The Geography Department today toured the South Shore of Iceland including a visit to the famous black sand beach at Vik. The Reynisdrangar rock formations (basalt) were formed by fast-flowing lava from a nearby volcano. As the lava cooled, it formed these impressive columnar stacks – a process called columnar jointing.

The group ventured out with guides onto the Solheimajokull Glacier. Students encountered a range of dramatic ice formations including crevasses, rugged ridges and sinkholes. The mighty Katla volcano also lurks ominously beneath the ice cap.

The group also visited Skógafoss which is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland, with a drop of some 60 meters and a width of 25 meters.

In the evening we headed out by coach to escape the light pollution of Reykjavik to see the Northern Lights.

Monday 30th October

Today the Geography Department visited Þingvellir. Iceland is the only place in the world where the mid-Atlantic Rift is above sea-level, and you can see the edges of both the North American and Eurasian plates as clearly as in Þingvellir.

Next the tour also stopped at the spectacular geothermal site at Geysir.  Strokkur is the most impressive geyser in the area.  The waters of Strokkur often reach over 40 metres and erupt every 5 to 10 minutes.

We also stopped at Gullfoss at waterfall formed through the process of isostatic uplift (in this case land rising out of the sea due to tectonic activity).

Tuesday 31st October

A rest day which included a visit to Reykjavík.

Then on to the USA in the evening!

Wednesday 1st November

The Year 13 Geography group woke early in NYC. After a ride downtown on the Subway and some brunch at a New York Diner we headed across the Hudson for to visit Ellis Island. This was the place where over the years 12 million migrants were processed before beginning their new lives in the USA. In the afternoon the migrant story continued with students visiting the Tenement Museum. Actors helped students to understand more about the tough conditions recent arrivals to the US coped with over a century ago.

Thursday 2nd November

After breakfast the group made their way to the 7 subway line heading out of Manhattan in the direction of Flushing, Queens. The line is designated a National Heritage Trail due to the rich diversity of neighbourhoods, ethnicities, and cultures you travel through along the route. By walking and riding the subway between stops, the group experienced the rich mix of tastes and sounds on offer. The trip ended in the Chinese/Korean suburb of Flushing where the soup dumplings are legendary!

After riding the 7 line back to Manhattan, the group experienced the striking and sometimes controversial urban renewal and redevelopment projects on show along the route of the High Line, and in the nearby Meatpacking District.

Friday 3rd November

The group visited area around 5th Avenue before visiting Central Park and preparing for the journey home later that evening.

Mr Mike Baker, Head of Geography

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