Iceland was created by volcanoes. It is in between the tectonic plates of two continents, like Hawaii in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire. There is ice stretched over a cauldron, a caldera. The ice is a thin layer over boiling water, that floods when the volcano erupts. Iceland’s recent volcanic eruption in the 2000s may have influenced world weather – a warm 2012, a cold 2013 – with volcanic ash, much like Krakatoa in 1883, and the Year Without Summer, in 1816.
Other Iceland volcanoes lie not under a field of ice – a glacier accessible only by helicopter – but a field of ash. The volcano empties its magma chamber and the earth deflates, contracts and cracks. The area remains barren rock, desolate wasteland, until the chamber fills up again and explodes in an eruption of lava flow.
Iceland, a volcanic hotspot in the far north, is a dynamic meeting of fire and ice, two extremes.