Iceland

Iceland lives up to its name in this image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS ) on NASAs Terra satellite on January 28, 2004. The island country is completely covered in white snow and ice, obscuring the permanent glaciers and icecaps that exist year-round. The effect of ice on this island sandwiched between the North Atlantic and the Greenland Sea, just below the Arctic Circle, is visible along its rugged northern shores. Over millennia, ice has carved out deep fjords leaving fringes of land that extend like fingers into the ocean.
Source: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Dust off Iceland

Light brown streamers of dust were blowing southward off the southern coast of Iceland on October 5, 2004. Strong winds pushed by a large low-pressure system to the southeast (not shown in this image) were sweeping the dust off the land and carrying it for more than a hundred kilometers over the North Atlantic. This true-color image was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS ) aboard NASAs Aqua satellite.
Source: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Phytoplankton bloom off Iceland

On the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the clouds around Iceland cleared to reveal bright blue and green swirls in the North Atlantic Ocean. The water is probably colored by coccolithophores, single-celled plants that are coated in a white calcium carbonate. The tiny plants can form massive blooms, visible in satellite imagery such as this image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on June 21, 2004. A cruise northwest of Ireland reported a bloom of Emiliana huxleyi northwest of Ireland a week before this image was taken, and it’s likely that the bloom seen here is the same species. Emiliana huxleyi is the most abundant species of coccolithophores.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Phytoplankton blooms off Iceland

Streaky, swirling clouds of phytoplankton float in the waters of the Northern Atlantic Ocean off of Iceland’s east coast in this true-color image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on August 11, 2004. Green vegetation spreads across Iceland’s surfaces, while the four permanent glaciers (Langjokull and Hofsjokull in the interior west, Myrdalsjokull on the southern coast, and Vatnajokull on the eastern coast) stand out in stark white.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Ash from Grimsvotn Volcano across Vatnajokull Ice Cap

As fall marches toward winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Icelands rugged terrain casts long shadows back on itself, exaggerating the topography of the islands snow-covered mountains, particularly along the eastern coast. On the northeastern portion of the islands largest ice cap—Vatnajokull—what appears to be another of the seasons long shadows is actually a layer of ash from the recent eruption of the sub-glacial volcano that lies beneath the thick ice. The Grimsvà Volcano and Vatnajà l engage in a cycle of creation and destruction, build-up and release. Beneath a sheet of ice 200 meters thick in places, Grimsvà simmers, its crater filled with a lake of meltwater dammed by ice blockages. The immense mass of water and ice presses down on the volcano, holding explosive eruptions in check. As the bottom of the glacier continues to melt, the lake eventually overruns the level of the ice dams, releasing a glacial outburst flood. The draining of the lake temporarily releases the pressure on the volcano, which may make explosive eruptions more likley. In mid-October, the lake spilled over the calderas ice dams, and on November 2, 2004, Grimsvà spewed a large plume of ash and steam high into the atmosphere. The plume forced air traffic to be re-routed and left a dark blanket across the northern part of the scalloped glacier. This Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer ( MODIS ) image captured by the sensor on the Terra satellite shows the sooty remains of the eruption spread across the glacier. Soon, the evidence of the eruption will be frozen in time, as the layer of ash is buried by the advancing winters snows.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Iceland

Summer is winding to a close on September 9, 2002, but even Iceland is still showing some summer color, its perimeter tinged with green, while its large permanent ice caps stand out brightly against the volcanic rock surrounding them. The largest ice cap, Vatnajokull, actually rests on top of three active volcanoes. The heat from these volcanoes causes the underside of the ice cap to melt, slowly filling the calderas. Eventually the caldera spills over and releases a torrent of water known as a glacial melt flood. This volcanic activity happens because a tectonic boundary runs roughly northeast-southwest through the island country, and the two plates are pulling away from each other, causing magma to well up from deep in the Earth. By mid-October, the northern part of the island is snow covered, and by late October, the entire island is wearing its wintry blanket. The brightly colored lakes and coastal waters are the result of very fine, and highly reflective sediment that is ground to bits by the immense weight of the glaciers and washed out with glacial runoff. These images were captured by the Terra and Aqua satellites.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Iceland

Summer is winding to a close on September 9, 2002, but even Iceland is still showing some summer color, its perimeter tinged with green, while its large permanent ice caps stand out brightly against the volcanic rock surrounding them. The largest ice cap, Vatnajokull, actually rests on top of three active volcanoes. The heat from these volcanoes causes the underside of the ice cap to melt, slowly filling the calderas. Eventually the caldera spills over and releases a torrent of water known as a glacial melt flood. This volcanic activity happens because a tectonic boundary runs roughly northeast-southwest through the island country, and the two plates are pulling away from each other, causing magma to well up from deep in the Earth. By mid-October, the northern part of the island is snow covered, and by late October, the entire island is wearing its wintry blanket. The brightly colored lakes and coastal waters are the result of very fine, and highly reflective sediment that is ground to bits by the immense weight of the glaciers and washed out with glacial runoff. These images were captured by the Terra and Aqua satellites.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Iceland

Summer is winding to a close on September 9, 2002, but even Iceland is still showing some summer color, its perimeter tinged with green, while its large permanent ice caps stand out brightly against the volcanic rock surrounding them. The largest ice cap, Vatnajokull, actually rests on top of three active volcanoes. The heat from these volcanoes causes the underside of the ice cap to melt, slowly filling the calderas. Eventually the caldera spills over and releases a torrent of water known as a glacial melt flood. This volcanic activity happens because a tectonic boundary runs roughly northeast-southwest through the island country, and the two plates are pulling away from each other, causing magma to well up from deep in the Earth. By mid-October, the northern part of the island is snow covered, and by late October, the entire island is wearing its wintry blanket. The brightly colored lakes and coastal waters are the result of very fine, and highly reflective sediment that is ground to bits by the immense weight of the glaciers and washed out with glacial runoff. These images were captured by the Terra and Aqua satellites.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Iceland

Three of Iceland.s large, permanent ice fields are visible in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from June 21, 2002. The largest, Vatnajokull (right), covers several active volcanoes, whose activity crate vast meltwater lakes in the volcanoes. calderas beneath the glacier.s surface. Eventually the calderas overflow, giving rise to massive glacial outburst floods. To the west of Vatnajokull is Hofsjokull, and to its west is Langjokull. A few bright blue-green lakes can be seen dotting the thawing landscapes of western Iceland. These lakes are bright because glacial runoff fills them with highly reflective sediment, ground very finely by the massive weight of glaciers.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Iceland

Icelands icy exterior hides its steamy volcanic underpinnings. Running roughly northeast to southwest through the island country is the northern part of the vast Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the divergent boundary of the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate. The two plates are diverging, essentially pulling Iceland apart, and often resulting in intense sub-glacial volcanic activity. One of Icelands most active volcanic centers is locked beneath the 8300-km sup&2 /sup& Vatnajvkull Glacier in southeast Iceland. The Grmmsvvtn center has erupted around once every ten years during the past few hundred years. Beneath the enormous glacier, the intense geothermal activity continuously melts the ice to form a sub-glacial lake in the volcanos caldera (crater). The melt waters eventually flood the caldera, and pour out from underneath the glacier, resulting in often devastating glacial outburst floods that occur every 5-15 years. This MODIS image was made from data acquired on January 27, 2002.
Source: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC