Updated: January 2010

North Dakota State University: "Volcanoes: Inside and Out - a Natural History Field Experience to Iceland"

Geology and Natural History Field Course in Iceland

Thingvellir ©B.Saini-Eidukat

The Department of Geosciences at North Dakota State University (NDSU) sponsored a field course from July 24-August 8, 2004, on the geology and natural history of Iceland.

The field experience provided an intensive introduction to Icelandic vulcanism, geology, and landforms, and cultural history including Nordic prehistory. The trip leader was Dr. Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat, Associate Professor of Geosciences at NDSU. The course was open to students, alumni, and community members. All participants contributed to a field guide book assembled before the trip. The course was listed as Geology 496 and Geology 695, for 3 credits.


An outline of key stops is given below.

We left the St.Paul - Minneapolis International airport on July 24 to arrive in Reykjavik on the morning of the 25th. The next day was spent on the volcanically active Westmann Islands. After returning to the main island, we then spent the next two days hiking, observing, and discussing the Landmannalauger area before heading over the highland road of Fjallbak Nyrðra to the glacial area of Skaftafell National Park.

We took a boat tour on the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon before heading inland to the spectacular crater lake of Askja. We then visited the geothermal and other natural features of the Lake Myvatn area, Akureyri, Skagafjördur / Hofsós and a fantastic hike at Kerlingafjöll. The waterfall at Dettifoss, the famous Geysir area, the historically important Thingvellir national park and a bath at the world famous Blue Lagoon rounded out the trip. Then it was back to Reykjavik and the flight back to MSP on August 8!

The cost of the trip was approximately $3100. This amount included airfare (MSP-Reykjavik-MSP), tuition and fees, 13 days land transportation in Iceland with bus and local guide, boat trip to the Westmann Islands, boat tour on the Jökulsárlon glacier lagoon, and entry fee to the Blue Lagoon. Some meals were covered as part of the fee, while other meals were arranged at participant cost during the trip as group camping. Accommodation was a mixture of camping and hostel accommodations. Most of the trip costs were charged up front as a set fee (e.g., fees, land package, transportation). Costs not included were: laundry, tips, airfare from a city other than St. Paul/Minneapolis, souvenirs, travel insurance, passport fee, and other items not specifically included above.

| The Course Syllabus (PDF) | The Project Assignment | The List of Projects | Links to Iceland Information | Travel Tips and Packing List | Nem Schlecht's Iceland Trip Picture Gallery |

For more information contact:

Bernhardt Saini-Eidukat
Department of Geosciences
NDSU Dept. 2745
P.O. Box 6050
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND, 58108-6050
phone (701) 231-8785