Geology Across the Big Pond

Shelby Hurst
Geosciences: Hydrogeology Major
WMU Geology Club in Iceland

I have been a part of Geology Club for many years and had the chance to go on two of the annual trips that are planned each year. In 2016 we took sixteen students out to the Pacific Northwest, and in 2017 we took thirteen students to South Dakota and Wyoming. This year marks a milestone for the club as we travel to Iceland, as we’ve never gone international until now.

This trip has been a whirlwind of planning. Geoclub decided back in October that the summer trip would be to Iceland. With such a short amount of time, it required all students attending the trip to fund raise like crazy. This trip was planned as a group and we spent Spring semester learning about the geology of the areas we will be visiting. There is a very diverse mix of students, ages 19 to 38. Many of these students have never been abroad and some have never even been on a plane or been camping.

Clearly, there has been an air of excitement and nervousness as we get closer to our departure. A week-long trip of camping and geologic excursions along the southern part of Iceland’s Ring Road promises many new and exciting experiences for many. In recent years, Iceland has become a very popular tourist spot, but to us it is so much more. The geology there is unique and there are very few places in the world one can see glaciers of this size and volcanic activity.

I myself am excited to immerse myself into such a vastly different culture (if only for a week). I have traveled internationally once before, when I went to Paris last summer for a conference. It was a bit of a culture shock, but there were still large cities and two-way streets. Iceland is mostly countryside peppered with smaller villages. Coming from a culture so obsessed with technology and being busy, I am beyond ecstatic to spend some time in nature and (mostly) check out from the internet world. I grew up camping and it is one of my favorite summer activities. My favorite thing about camping is waking up when the world is coming alive as the sun rises. Everything is quiet, the air seems so much fresher, and you can really enjoy the morning.

I am looking forward to those quiet mornings, breathtaking landscapes, hiking and educational trips during the day, fires, and bonding with my friends at night. Sadly, this will be my last trip with the club, but I am ending with a bang. These trips have been once in a lifetime chances and I will hold on to all the memories and friendships I have made for many years to come.

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