Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 3

Most of us awoke and hit breakfast at 7:30am. We headed to The United Nations University and we had our first lecture. The topic was Geothermal Energy. Dr Invar B Fridleifsson, a Nobel Laureate, spoke about the present and future prospects of geothermal and other renewable energy resources.

Iceland is unique to the world in that it has produced and utilized only green renewable energy for the past 20 years. In Iceland there Is a different mindset on what a power plant provides. They convert the geothermal energy not just into electricity but also direct heating and public baths including the famous Blue Lagoon.

At noon, we made a pit stop at a Shell gas station and bagged lunches for our hiking. We took the bus up into the highlands. We went to several sites which all had sweeping views of the interior lakes and volcanic mountain ranges. The most exciting of these hikes was to an old rift volcano. The mellow students followed Imbertson up the safe path to a viewing ledge. Those seeking adventure followed Bo down into the interior of the volcanic crevasse. We took our time here, everyone felt the freedom to roam and explore the entire rift. Some students made it to the top of the volcano while other students were still in the bottom of the crater.

16 members of our group ventured out to Blue Lagoon at 5:15pm. This lagoon is a geothermal pool fed with brine-water from an adjacent geothermal power plant. At the beginning of our soak, everybody was encouraged to apply a mud mask filled with the minerals and silica of which the Blue Lagoon is famous for. The silica has been shown to penetrate the outer skin layer to immediately combine with and strengthen the lipid layer beneath. Certain spots of the lagoon were lukewarm while other spots were piping hot. Some areas had semi-circular seating areas where we relaxed. Other corners of the lagoon allowed us to sink our feet into maybe 10 inches of Icelandic geothermal brine mud.