July 18th 2024

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Bio Team Update

We completed all the soil extractions yesterday and the samples are prepared for transport back to Earlham.

Now that we are done with soil, it is now on to water sampling. A contingent of students were trained today by Dr. Emma Cross. Dr. Cross is an Assistant Professor of Coastal/Marine Studies in the Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences at Southern Connecticut State University. Her research focuses on climate change impacts on marine organisms.

While the bio team was away, the computer science team worked on networking and coding tasks.

Ella and Charlie cooked an amazing dinner of lamb, green beens & corn, home made biscuits, and baked Mac and cheese.

Tomorrow is an early start for the boat team!

July 16th – Free Day in Seydisfjordur

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Today was our free day to explore Seydisfjordur. To start off our day, we visited the archeological site located in the town where an archeology team is working on excavating a discovered longhouse. The longhouse consisted of the main living area, a weaving room with two fireplaces, a smithy, and pantries. At one point in the longhouse’s history, some of the walls were destroyed in a landslide from the surrounding mountains.

After visiting the dig site, we visited a museum with an exhibit about the longhouse, four pagan graves discovered nearby, and the Mountain Lady, the archeological find of human remains discovered in a cave in one of the mountains around Seydisfjordur. It was really interesting to learn about these archeological discoveries that allow us to learn about what life may have been like for the Icelanders during those points in history.

Once we finished looking around the museum, our group split up. Some of us decided to spend some time exploring Seydisfjordur, while the other group went to visit the baths in Vök. Some of the Seydisfjordur group decided to go on a hike to see some of the beautiful waterfalls in the area while the rest of us visited some of the local restaurants and shops, as well as a beautiful Lutheran church with a rainbow road leading up to it. After a few hours, the Vök crew met us at Seydisfjordur, and we all headed back to Skálanes.

Skalanes Day 5

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The weather was rainy and foggy out at Skalanes today, so we focused on tasks that would let us stay inside. We finished processing all of the soil samples taken in previous days, sorted and cleaned the soil sampling materials, and went over the data we’ve collected so far. Our intrepid leaders were brave enough to venture out into the weather in order to solve the clues left by a past Skalanes group, and successfully found the hidden box of goodies! With a fire crackling in the living room and warm, delicious gnocchi for dinner, we were all able to stay (mostly) dry and cozy while preparing for the busy days of water sampling ahead.

Last day of soil sampling

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Today was our third full day at Skálanes and our final day of taking soil samples in the field! A group of us spent most of the day hiking to the top of one of the mountains to reach our last 8 sample sites. We left the house at around 9:30 in the morning and made our way to the first river to hike alongside it. The river and waterfalls were beautiful and being close to the clear water meant we could refill our water bottles whenever we needed!

Hiking up the mountain was definitely challenging, but so worth it! When we finally made it to the top of the mountain, after a speedy 2.5 hours, we ate lunch with the most gorgeous view. It was especially cool to see the clouds over the fjord. We then began taking our soil samples as usual.

Hiking down the mountain and stopping at the remaining sample sites was difficult but exciting! We had to carefully navigate some ridges (which often involved sitting and scooting down the steeper parts) and wade through more tall lupin. Once we were done taking samples, we finally made our way back to the house (earlier than we had originally predicted!) and enjoyed a relaxing evening. It was a tiring but super fun day!

Elementor #3558

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1st Day at Skalanes

We started out the day by hiking a little ways and taking a soil sample with the help of Emmett. Afterwards we took off by ourselves to take soil samples up the mountain. Unfortunately, finding the tiny markers in 4 foot tall Lupin is no easy task

Unfortunately, finding the tiny markers in 4 foot tall Lupin is no easy task. Several hours were spent in vain looking for the markers. (Find the Markers Roblox game reference) In total it took all afternoon to hike up, find the survey areas, take samples, and take a drone picture of about 7 sites, and we climbed around 600ft of elevation

Making our way back down the mountain of course was the most tricky part, with some people failing very regularly, although thankfully no one was injured.

Reykjavik to Skalanes

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Today was a travel-packed day, as we made our way to our research location in Skalanes. Our morning consisted of packing and saying our farewells to the beautiful city of Reykjavik. We then caught a plane to EGS in the smallest (and cutest) airport I have ever seen!

After going to the Bonus grocery store to stock up for the weekend, we finally made our way to Skalanes. 


The views from the bus ride alone were enough to take our breath away; with the snowy mountains, vast waterfalls, and tiny rivers. Our bus drove us up the mountain through three gorgeous rivers to reach our final destination. Each of our hearts skipped a beat when we looked out the windows and saw the landscape ahead.

Once at the house, we had a chance to settle in and eat dinner. We ended our day by watching the puffins and reading a couple of chapters of Norse Mythology.



No camera could capture the magical essence of where we are, although we all took way too many pictures!

Skalanes Day 2

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Today was our second full day in Skalanes! Our task of the day was to collect five soil samples located around the Arctic tern colony next to the house. While most of us went out into the field to collect samples, the rest of the students tagged along with the faculty and our archaeology partner to check out some cool archaeology sites! Both teams met up at the end of our journeys and hiked back to the house. 

Once back at the house, we began lab work with the soil samples. First, we combined each of the four samples from each site and mixed them together. Gary then measured these site samples into small tubes to be vortexed and centrifuged. The last and final step was to pipette the liquid section containing the DNA into new tubes, which will be taken back to Richmond. After placing these completed tubes into the fridge, lab work was concluded for the day!

To kick back and relax, our Icelandic friends were kind enough to invite us to a bonfire on the black sand beach near the house. Some of us even decided to go swimming in the freezing water! Although, most of us did not last longer than a few minutes before our fingers and toes went numb. 

The perfect way to end the day was on the puffin cliff. There was a beautiful sunset with pink skies, and an open view of the ocean. We bird-watched and sat on the cliffs to admire the breathtaking location we are lucky to (temporarily) call home. 

Last Full Day In Reykjavik

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We visited a geothermal power-plant, saw a large waterfall, and went to Þingvellir. It was our tourist-spot day.

The sky was overcast-to-sprinkling all day, so everyone got damp to some degree, especially during the waterfall visit. The spray was far-reaching. At the geothermal plant we got a guided explanation of the workings, and a bit of political context (controversial topics in Iceland: aluminum production and the European carbon credit system). Þingvellir had beautiful water all through it, clear and almost ice-cold, as well as informational signs on the history of the place.

Reykjavik Day 2

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After a restful night and a healthy breakfast, we were ready to start the second day of our trip in Reykjavik.

While some of us preferred to go downtown for shopping and visiting, others took the bus to go hiking. The hike was beautiful, we walked approximately 10 km (6.2 miles) along a gorgeous river. We were surrounded by lupins, which are purple flowers, and stunning landscapes. The highlight of the hike was a breathtaking waterfall at the end; Felix and Gary were brave enough to cross the river and see the waterfall from the other side. Afterwards, we headed back to the guesthouse for some well-deserved food and rest.

In the afternoon, different groups engaged in various activities. While some got boba tea and explored the area, others went to the beach and enjoyed warm hot tubs and the cold sea water. This is what we call the real Icelandic experience!

Elementor #3519

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Arrival in Reykjavík

After and long car ride and plane fight we finally arrived in Iceland and what a beautiful country it is right off the bat. Cool and fresh air that makes you forget about the scorching heat back home, and the pedestrian walk ways that make traversing Reykjavík a breeze. Due to us still recuperating we haven’t done much in the city yet, however what we did do was go to the National Museum of Iceland where we learned a lot of fascinating things about Icelands history. Though our bodies are tired, our minds are full of knowledge, can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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