The Spirit of Iceland | Svínafellsjökull glacier, Skaftafell, Southern Iceland, Europe
Dramatic cloud sceneries with stray sun light are typical for Iceland. Such unique moods of the light arise from low elevation sunlight not reaching the ground that falls through broken multi-layered cloud decks. This indirect light is causing different hues and light intensities at the surface. The black hills in the background belong to the 330 ft (100 m) high terminal moraine of Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell, southern Iceland. The moraine is composed out of volcanic breccia eroded by the glacier from the surrounding mountains. The steep ice fall of Svínafellsjökull follows gravity at a speed of 3.3 ft (1 m) per day. Hence, the ice of the bordering glacial lake, that is up to 1.3 ft (40 cm) thick, is steeply piled up at the terminal moraine. This glacial drift of 0.4 inch (1 cm) within 15 minutes causes the ice of the glacier and the ice on the lake to crack constantly under this immense pressure. A multitude of tension cracks form within the ice. This produces a stunning network of parallel aligning white lines. The cracking sounds produced by the drifting ice, the harsh winter conditions at 17°F (-8°C) and chilly winds together with the impressive light situation made this experience on the ice unforgettable.