Fires of the earth is appropriate as Iceland sits on top of the Reykjanes Ridge – the spreading seafloor separating the American and European continents. The resulting spreading, driven by upwelling magma issues forth flood basalts, and cinder cones of ash pocket the landscape. Walk among the fresh lava, a mixture rhyolite from the crust, hair like strands form pahoehoe next to fumarole vents, still smelling of the Sulphur gas. Stepping around splatter formed by bubbling lava you can see the unique hornito, a miniature volcanic structure of built up magma. Lava tubes buried underneath the landscape are suddenly diverted upwards to create rootless volcanoes, volcanic in form but with no main vent or pipe leading to a magma chamber.
Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) postulated that the volcanic mountains arose from a network of subterranean fire cells. No longer an accepted theory, in Iceland, one could imagine this massive network spewing forth through cracks, seemingly interconnected. An interesting visual of an Igneous network. The volcanoes seem to be everywhere. They erupt underneath from vents and fissures. They erupt underneath glaciers causing a glaciovolcano to form (a specific steep sided structure) that cause meltwaters and massive lakes beneath the glacier which then burst forth as in the 1996 Vatnajökull jökulhlaup - an immense glacial flood that washed out bridges and the scoured the landscape.
Fires of the earth – an appropriate title for a land that is constantly being forged from the molten magma in the middle of the Atlantic.