Playing with pillows


The blog will try to keep people updated on progress of our Dickinson-Wooster expedition in Iceland. We (3 faculty + 6 students) are mapping pillow lavas on the Reykjanes Peninsula, courtesy of several well-placed quarries. The aim of our project is to better understand what happens when volcanic fissures open beneath large ice sheets.

Day 01 – Pizza on the pillows (almost): had a great idea to get take out pizza and go eat it at the pillow quarries so students could see what all the excitement was about – but decided that, while pizza on the pillows was a perfectly plausible idea, it maybe was so brilliant on a cold, rainy evening…

Day 02 – Typical Icelandic spring weather for south coast: wet, windy but great pillow viewing; very nice to have a warm shelter for lunch at least…

Ellie Was (DC) examining a vesicular cavity in a dike cutting through pillow lavas

Ellie Was (DC) examining a vesicular cavity in a dike cutting through pillow lavas


Dickinson-Wooster field crew sitting at the base of the well-jointed lava flow/shallow intrusion in pillow lava quarry.

Day 03 – Sunday sunny Sunday…not quite! But we go to do a transect from the bottom of the quarry up through an interesting layer dominated by sill-like intrusions (or maybe sheet flows??). Also found two ashy layers that are rather continuous and olivine-rich…hhmmm…

Day 04 – Monday was windy, but beautiful in the evening so we went back out for an after dinner bit of thigh-burning-talus-climbing (after all we had chocolate covered cream puffs for dessert). Sometimes 100 percent rock exposure doesn’t make things easier! We have some tricky stratigraphy to sort out with pillow lavas and under/overlying vitric volcanic breccia…

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