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A-Level Geography Trip to Iceland

Our Sixth Form Geographers had a very sunny, and very cold, welcome to Iceland! On their first day, they visited the Bridge between the continents - one moment they were standing on the Eurasian Plate, home to 75% of the world's population, and next they were on the North American Plate. Pupils were able to put their learning into reality when standing in a major fissure created by the divergent plate boundary. Next up was Gunnuhver hot springs, located in the most southern tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula, where they were surrounded by the boiling vents and mud pools (and the distinctive smell of hydrogen sulfide).

Our Geographers had a relaxing start to their day in Iceland at the Secret Lagoon, a 40°C pool fed by naturally occurring hot springs, followed by the majestic Gulfoss Falls. They then went to the Geysir Geothermal Area and were amazed by the 30m eruption from the Strokkur Geysir. A quick trip to a family led ice cream farm as an example of rural diversification was a delicious treat. The highlight of the day was Thingvellir National Park, where pupils spent time walking by the fissures within the 7km wide rift valley torn apart by tectonic forces.

Day three saw another breathtaking day in Iceland. Pupils started the day by visiting the Lava Centre where they learnt about Iceland’s volcanic activity, earthquakes and its creation over millions of years through the interactive exhibition. They were taught how to pronounce 'Eyjafjallajökull', the volcano that erupted in 2010 causing travel havoc across Europe, and some pupils have mastered it! Our Geographers also visited two spectacular waterfalls - Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss - previously on the coastline but now 5km inland due to the land rebounding after the last ice age. At the small town of Vik and nearby Reynishverfi Beach (the 'black sand' beach), they saw incredible physical features such as sea stacks and basalt columns. In the afternoon pupils visited Sólheimajökull Glacier which was spectacular. They were able to go right to the glacier terminus to touch the ice, and being within such a dramatic landscape was a highlight of the trip for many. Evenings spent together with quizzes planned by pupils and games have been a brilliant end to the epic days.

On their final day, pupils visited Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland where over 85% of the population live. They visited Hallgrimskirkja church with a design inspired by Iceland’s natural landscape, replicating the geometric shapes of basalt columns that they had seen at the beach the day prior. Pupils enjoyed wandering around the centre, particularly the fresh fish and chips for lunch. As they said goodbye to their driver, he shared that the Vaughan had been the best school he had ever worked with!

Ms Delacave, Head of Geography, commented: "We’ve had a fantastic time in Iceland and are leaving with incredible geographical memories."

Thank you to Ms DelecaveMs Davison, Teacher of Geography, and Mr Cardozo, Teacher of Maths & Drama, for arranging and assisting with such an exciting trip!

A-Level Geography Trip to Iceland