Iceland is also called the land of fire and ice. It makes sense, because Iceland is a volcanic island, and you'll find plenty of ice, summer and winter. Iceland is largely made up of glaciers.
As a child, I was fascinated by volcanoes. I was allowed, and still enjoy watching documentaries about volcanoes, especially the eruptions, and the images of flowing lava, which have something hypnotic for me. For a long time I thought that lava was always red in color, and that it was always light in weight. Not so...
And so I went to Iceland to hunt for various colors of lava. And I found it. And I also found out that lava isn't always lightweight at all.
Next to this a close-up picture of “ordinary” lava. Like you like it a lot in Iceland. It is brown in color and very light weight. I brought a lump the size of my hand, and I think it weighs about 40 grams. This lava is very fragile, it pulverizes like this. When you walk on it you feel like walking on a huge “brittle” (the chocolate bar).
The lump of lava next door is more red in color, and slightly heavier in weight. It crumbles less quickly, certainly still has the characteristic airy structure that lava is so famous for.
Red lava, about as heavy as the piece above, not very fragile, nicely brittle in structure.
And then: this is something I found special: yellow-white lava! I hadn't heard of that before, and I haven't found it very much either. That is... not in chunks. Because when you drive around Iceland, you'll find that there's a lot of dust, gray-white dust: and that's from this lava.
Lavameel is also made of this.
This piece is quite heavy: a piece of about 4x5 centimetres weighs 150 grams.
No, lava: this lava has flowed into the sea and cooled down there, to break and become mirrored by the sanding on the seabed. Black sand beach, near Vik, in the south of Iceland is world famous for its black lava beach. This is where I brought these stones.
The stones are slightly lighter than pebbles of the same size, I like them very much!
And then: the most beautiful lava there is... that may not be entirely true, but this one is the most rare, I'm told: Lavaglas, or obsidian.
Lava glass is created when lava cools very quickly under great pressure. You often find it among large chunks of lava: suddenly there is a vein.
There is a lot of Obsidian to be found in the Landmannalaugar nature reserve (blogs still follow), so I went on my way as a gold digger, looking for Obsidian. And I found it, and I took pieces home.
Obsidian is seen as a semi-precious stone, and cut as a diamond.
It's heavy: it's the heaviest lava I've found, I think it's heavier than glass, but I haven't been able to test that because I don't have a solid piece of glass to compare my pieces to.
By the way, did you know that Lava is very fertile? Not immediately when it's spit out by the volcano, it's only dangerous, because scorching hot, but after a few years, a lot of lava grows. And that can be seen in Iceland, where you can find fields full of moss, and lots of different kinds of greenery. When I took pictures I saw how fertile lava is: in one of my chunks a small vegetation begins to grow... ::