Iceland is on the rise

Global warming might not be a reality for many sceptics, but there are many more who believe it is a real and evident threat.

Earlier this year, it was reported that while the polar ice caps have retreated over the years, other things, like land masses, are rising higher. As the Earth’s crust is relieved of the pressure that the weight of ice can bear, it begins to rise – think of it like a weight being lifted of a slab of foam.

One of those land masses is Iceland, a place of extreme beauty and one of the world’s most unique geographic locations. It is also happening further south, as Antarctica’s giant glaciers begin to melt as a direct result of climate change. Down there, an international research team revealed last year that at GPS stations on the Northern Antarctic Peninsula, land is surging upward at the rate of up to 15 millimetres a year.

“You would expect this rebound to happen over thousands of years, and instead we have been able to measure it in just over a decade,” lead study author Grace Nield said via a statement in May 2014. “You can almost see it happening, which is just incredible.”

In Iceland, it’s far more shocking, with researchers finding that the fastest uplift occurred in the regions between the country’s largest ice caps, moving as much as 3.5 centimetres per year. Since 1995, Iceland has been shedding approximately 9.5 billion tons of ice each year, an unimaginable amount.

It is also believed that this phenomenon could be responsible for an increase in volcanic activity, something already common in the Icelandic region. It makes sense when you think about all that pressure rising and the activity within the Earth’s core.

Below is a series of photos from Jökusárlón, a large glacial lake in the southeast of Iceland and situated on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park.

The area is the site of high volcanic activity and close to Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted several times in the early part of 2010, forcing the closure of airspace in the region and causing flight chaos for many travellers.