'From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow...'



Geography student, Kiran Maher visited Iceland to study its unique and diverse landscape. We tracked her down to find out more about her experiences in the land of fire and ice.

Drawn to the dynamic and diverse nature of the subject, Kiran chose to study Geography at LJMU as the course provides a huge range of opportunities – one of which was a trip to every geographer's dream country: Iceland. 

“The trip involved two weeks of travelling around the whole country studying the landscape – mainly formations and how it has changed over time. We did a glacier walk where we got to see first-hand this unique feature and we also toured one of the newly-facilitated aluminium smelting plants. Most of our time was spent in Skálanes, a nature conservation site, where we got involved in restoration projects and contributed to the planting of 1,000 trees. We also had the opportunity to go to three different hot springs, taking advantage of Iceland’s geothermal properties.”

Exploring Iceland's landscapes up close and personal gave Kiran a better understanding of the effects of climate change:

“Iceland has many moraines we could see throughout the trip, showing that many glaciers are rapidly retreating. This will have an impact on local water supplies and hydroelectric facilities because the melting rate is not consistent. Also, the smelting plant I mentioned releases very large quantities of carbon dioxide which ultimately contributes to climate change. However, Iceland is far more sustainable than other countries as its main source of energy is geothermal and therefore produces less carbon.”

While on the field trip, Kiran was able to get some hands-on training in GIS analysis, something she wants to pursue as a career.

“I had a chance to work with drones to map the area we were staying at. The images captured by the drone can be used to create maps and using GIS programmes we could look at changes in the landscape over time.”


“The landscapes were incredible and unlike anything I had seen before. It was great to see what I had been learning about in lectures in real life as it helped to understand the environment better.”


Asked if she would recommend this trip to others, she said:

“Absolutely! It was by far the best field trip as it was very educational as well as a lot of fun. Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and it would be a shame to miss this incredible opportunity.”

Did you know?
  • Over 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers

  • There are more than 125 volcanic mountains in the country; two recent eruptions made headlines: Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 (which shut down European airspace for a few days) and Grimsvötn in 2011

  • The many rivers and waterfalls that traverse the landscape are harnessed to provide hydroelectric energy to power most of the country

  • Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude almost entirely outside of the Arctic Circle

  • Strokkur (Icelandic for 'churn') is a geyser located in a geothermal area not far from the capital, Reykjavík. It typically erupts every 6-10 minutes to a height of 15-20 metres although it can sometimes erupt up to 40 metres high. Stopping in to see the geyser erupt is high up on any tourist's bucket list

  • Þingvellir is one of only two places in the world where you can see two of the earth's tectonic plates meeting above the earth's surface

If you’re interested in studying geography or climate change, take a look at the courses available to study with us.



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