Iceland’s Natural History Is Melting Skip to content

Iceland’s Natural History Is Melting

By Iceland Review

“The entire history of Iceland, almost from the settlement, is stored in the country’s glaciers,” said Oddur Sigurdsson, a glaciologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office. He is concerned that this history will be lost with the continued melting of glaciers.


Vatnajökull. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“The oldest ice which is melting now is probably in Brúarjökull. It fell as snow at the highest point of Vatnajökull at the time when the settler Ingólfur Arnarson arrived to the country,” Sigurdsson told Morgunbladid, referring to the year 874 AD.

“The glacier preserves the history of the climate, that is, the history of precipitation and temperatures, the volcanic history and doubtlessly more,” he added.

“Now they predict that the glaciers will be gone more or less in the next 200 years. That means that five years of this history, which we have yet to study, will disappear every year,” Sigurdsson stated.

He finds it important to perform core drilling in the glaciers where they are at their highest and oldest point, for example in Bárdarbunga, Hofsjökull, Kverkfjöll and elsewhere, to obtain these historical sources before they melt, claiming that comparable sources aren’t available anywhere else.

The project has begun; experimental drilling has taken place in Vatnajökull and Hofsjökull.

Click here to read more about the glacial melt in Iceland.

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