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IceLand Lab’ 2016 - 17th to 31th July 2016

13 young European people decided to discover the mysteries of Iceland through a linguistic holiday.


A good mix between science and linguistic study holiday ! 15 days in one of the most fabulous island on planet earth, a true open-air geology book, a volcano on your right and a glacier on your left... This holiday offers an amazing science journalism project about glaciers, rocks, vocanos, water and climate change. All in english !

You’ll take part in the proposals for sutainable development, in the field of climate change on the planet.

 IceLand Lab’ 2016 - 17th to 31th July 2016

 DAY 1

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Most of us arrived this morning at 9:30. We had our first issue with Yoann’s bag that has not arrived yet. After that we ate sandwiches that we made at the camp and we got to meet each other. While Gael went to pick up other people at the airport we went to Reykjavik and had free time. We visited the city during three hours. We saw a very famous church, which is also very tall and saw a basalt’s barley. We wanted to go at the top but it was very expensive. We just walked around the main street and looked for some souvenirs. At 17:30 we went back to the camp, showered, and made dinner.
Tonight everyone will be here and tomorrow we will start the trip !
Good night ! :)

 DAY 2

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2 a.m : Anna and Paul arrived at the camp
8.30 a.m : We woke up and ate a breakfast.
10 a.m : We went to the center of Reykjavik, we passed at the post office to pick up a luggage, and we tried to pick up Yoann’s suitcase, but it wasn’t there, they had already sent it to the camp.
12 a.m : We arrived at the place between the Eurasian plate and the North American plate. We read a text about this place and ate sandwichs.
4 p.m : We came back at the camp, we dismounted the tents and we took our showers.
7 p.m : We arrived at Hveragerdi’s campsite we build up the tents.

 DAY 3

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To begin the day we woke up and we had breakfast.
Then we gathered at the forum to talk about the program of the day.
At 11 o’clock am we went to a great site, named “Pingveleir”. In that spot the tectonic plates (Eurasian and American) are drifting apart (2 centimetres per year). In the Middle Age the parliament gathered in this place which is a symbolic and very important location for Icelanders. It was the first European parliament and was crowded this morning. We saw a beautiful waterfall.

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After lunch we came back to the campsite and went for a one hour trek. We saw fumaroles and we swam in a hot river (43 degrees Celsius). This river brings Sulphur from under the ground. The water warmed up and came out for our pleisure.

 DAY 4

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Today we visited a place where there are a lot of geysers like the famour Geysir which could climb to 80-90 metres, the last time it did it was in 2000. We also saw Strokkur that can go up to 25-30 metres and learned about another geyser named the same (with only one “k”) that was artificially built in Reykjavik. Then we ate and went to the museum of Geysir but it was changed in a restaurant. Rémy was extremely disappointed. After that we took the cars to the waterfalls and admired them. At 4 we went back to camp.
Have a good evening and don’t forget to look at the pictures !!

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 DAY 5 & 6

Today, when we woke up, it was raining cats and dogs as during the night. Some people ate the breakfast in the van. Gaël showed us some experiments about the formation of the clouds with warm water, cool water and ice. Then, he sketched the earth’s inside with hot points directed to Iceland explaining why it is so volcanic.
Then, we begun to gather our things and we dismounted the tents. Some people watched a documentary about Iceland called “How the Earth was made in Iceland”. We ate and leaved the campsite. We made a halt at Hveragerdi’s supermarket where there has been an earthquake in 2008. There was an earthquake simulator (6.3 in Richter’s scale) we tested it and it was quite funny. We arrived at a cascade, we even walked behind it. Then we continued the road to a place where we could see puffins and Gaël with his big zoom. And then to a beach where we saw basaltic organs and puffins. The beach is in the top ten of the most beautiful beaches on earth. It is near Vik. We arrived at the camp. We built up the tents but it was quite, quite difficult. Apart from that, the campsite is beautiful and we are all getting well together.

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On the morrow, we went on another beach and we saw puffins. Those birds are black and white, they look like small pinguins. We realized they nether fly over the beach. They nest on the rocks and fly back and forth from there to the sea where there fish. Besides we took a lot of pictures.

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After that we came back at the campsite and we ate. Then we travelled to another campsite named Skaftafell as the nearest glacier. On the road we stopped in a traditional wool sheep shop to buy and see the fabrication of pullover. On our way to the glacier, we’ve seen nice waterfalls coming from the ... glacier above. Currently the air’s temperature is much colder than yersterday. We are looking foward to walk along the glacier which is gonna be tomorrow.

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 DAY 7

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Today we saw for the first time glaciers in Iceland : the Svinafellsjökull glacier tongue. We discovered them this morning helped by Gael’s explications about « moraines » (good luck on wikipedia).
Then Rémy stopped us while we were walking and we kept silent for five minutes trying to listen the cracks of the glaciers. Unfortunatly, because of the fog and the rain, we couldn’t hear anything.

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After getting lunch at the camp, we went back to another glacier called Jökulsarlon where we escaped from the rain.
There, we saw icebergs and some of us even swam in the cold lagoon !!!
After taking informations at the visiter center we went back to the camp.

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Have a good dinner !

 DAY 8

Today we woke up at 8m and ate a good breakfast. We left the camp at 9am to make a trek on the mountain near our camp. Then we took the OSI photo. The purpose is to observe the évolution of a glacier through the years.

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Then some of us returned to the camp after a 3 hour walk. The rest of the group kept going up to the top of the mountain, and had an incredible lookout. Along the walk we saw big glaciers tongues. On the way back, we stopped by a very famous Icelandic waterfall called Svartifoss rouded by basaltic orgues.

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 DAY 9

Today is a special day. Rémy and Gaël prepared a surprise for us. What can it be ? Before that, we divided in four groups and we spoke about the scientific journalism project. Two groups treat Iceland’s glaciers subject, another one Geysir, and the last one Laki’s volcanoes.

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After eating a delicious hotdog at 11.30 am, we went to an unknown place. We stopped in a parking and took a coffee... But an Iceland man told us to wear an harness and crampons. Then he gave us an ice axe, and we walked towards the glacier tongue. Besides we made a small trek on the ice. Ólafur Jónsson (our guide) showed us a deep crack, and asked us some questions about glaciers to test us. He understood we knew about the subject, and so he went deeper on his explanations. For exemple, he taught us that the black spot on the ice were composed by two third of volcanic ashes, sand from the beach, and rocks from the mountains.It also appears that volcanic ash is very good for the skin.

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Finally he answered all the questions we had and we came back to the campsite.
Moreover we lived a scientific moment. We spoke about annual temperature recording. We learned about its functionment and parameters, and decided the location where we put it. Finally we hid it under rocks behind the bushes in the Vatnalokull campsite.

 DAY 10

This morning we visited the visitor center and we walked to the front of the skaftafell’s glacier tongue.
At the visitor center we watched a documentary about the Iceland’s National Park. After that we had lunch and we packed our stuff.

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We moved to another camping and while we were driving we stopped to watch different things like the biggest refresh lava plane of Europe and a canyon with its waterfalls. When we arrived at the camping, we discovered a beautiful waterfall near our tents.

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 DAY 11

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Today, we spent the night in a beautiful camping near the waterfall. There was so much wind that we couldn’t hear the water falling. We woke up and went to see the cascade. Someone slipped on the mud. It’s dirty now. At the top of the cascade, Gaël and Timothé made measurements to calculate the height and the waterflow of the cascade. After, Victor and David took a bath in the freezing river (around 7°). Chinese people were making amazment sounds like « Whuuuuuuuh » ! At the camp, we made calculations to approximate the height and the waterflow of the cascade with the measurements took by Timothé and Gaël. These are the calculations :
t= 3 seconds (time for the water to fall) - G= 9.81m/s-2
x=1/2*G*t² => x=1/2*9.81*3²
So the waterfall is 45 meters high. Then, we wanted to calculate its waterflow : We guessedc that the river should be around 10 meters wide and 30 centimeters deep. Then, we calculated the distance that the water travels in 10 seconds : 11m.
So the speed of the water is 1.1m/sec. 1.1*0.3*10= 3.3m3/sec.

We left the camp and headed east. We took a rocky slope with the vans, it was a bit shaky, but when we arrived, the scenery was beautiful. We could see the Vestmann Islands, the Atlantic Ocean and Eyjafjallajökull’s glacier at the same time. There was snow, so we made a little snowbattle. We returned, were shaked again and arrived to a place that was affected by the Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption in 2010. We saw crazy pictures of mudflood. On the other hand, we are currently at the beginning of our projects. We will have the whole next day to finish it. We were a bit sad when we arrived at the camping because we were there before (it’s in Hveragerdi’s camping) and there is toooooo much flys and wasps.

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 DAY 12

Today, our day is going to be all about work !
We have been working our projet for a week. It’s time to make it real, and create our videos.
We have to produce a « Scientific Jourlism » project about a topic we choosed.
There are four groups : two work on Glaciers, one on the Laki, and the last on Geysir.
Some of us went to the swimming pool this morning, so the others can work quietly.
They must be all done by tommorow night.
The videos are at the bottom of this page, we hope you will enjoy it.

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 DAY 13

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We had today the opportunity to meet Björn Hroarsson, vulcanospeleologist and creator of “Extreme Iceland”, a company who offers trip around Iceland. He is also a famous Icelandic scientific. He explained how he created his company with his children and what type of researched he does. He is a specialist of lava flow and had discovered 600 « lava tubes ». We asked him many questions about the volcanic activity, glaciers and his.

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After the lunch, our manager prepared us a surprise. After a short part in car, we arrived at a « lava tube » we could hike through. It was cold and dark inside, with no possibility to see without flashlight. Thanks to our morning meeting, we could clearly understand how they were created. When the lava flow goes outside the volcano the lava it has approximately 1000°C to 1200°C and the air is at 4°C. With this difference of temperature, the lava at the top hardens faster but keep flowing inside. The lava tube is then created. After a while, when the flow of lava is less important, the lava stays low in the tube and cools down. That is why it is now possible to explore it. The one we visited was 1350 meters long. After 3h inside this “lava tube”, we went back to the camping and prepare our materials for the our last day.
See you soon.

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 DAY 14

Day 14 This morning, we just prepared our baggages. At 11 a.m, we went out of the campsite and we stopped at Reykjavik. After, we had done the last forum of the journey. All people said the journey were excellent and very interesting. After, we lunched in a Reykjavik fish’s restaurant. We spent the afternoon to wander in Reykjavik’s city. We bought objects and souvenirs. Then, we went to the last campsite of the journey in Gardur, and we prepared our luggages for tomorrow’s departure.
Our first mates take off at 6am, so we all wake up at 3.45am...


During the Science Camp, our main project was to produce Scientific Journalism short videos. It’s been hard to make, because of the camping style (lack of time, internet and battery), but we are are proud of our films.
We hope you guys will enjoy it, and learn from our work.
Thanks for following us all along.

Enjoy !!

The end

date de publication : 5 juillet 2016,
date de dernière mise à jour : 22 septembre 2016

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