The Center for Advanced Undergraduate Studies and Experience (CAUSE) at Pennsylvania State University is offering a 2-semester course examining the geology, geophysics, and geography of Iceland. UNAVCO's newly acquired Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) was loaned to Professors Sridhar Anandakrishnan and Pete La Femina, and their 14 undergraduate students, for the field portion of the course, which took place over a 2-week interval in May.
Icelandic landscapes are marked by a wide variety of geological features, such as volcanoes, glaciers, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which make for a complex and exciting setting for students to conduct field studies for their senior theses and to learn about field techniques with instruments such as the TLS. The TLS was put to good use by the class and generated a large amount of scans of the various land forms, such as dikes, fissures, glaciers, columnar joints, and quarries. These scans have proved to be instrumental in learning about potential uses for the instrument, and its capabilities in different environments and settings.
The group began their journey in Thingvellir National Park, which sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. A fissure in the fault system was scanned, and future scans of the same fissure will allow a spreading rate to be calculated, as well as more subtle movements to be quantified. The class continued southwest onto to Skaftafell National Park, where it spent 8 days getting acquainted with glacial terrain and collecting seismic and glaciological data on Svinafellsjokull, an outlet glacier of Vatnajokull, Iceland's largest glacier. Svinafellsjokull was scanned once at the beginning of the stay, and once again at the end. A velocity of the glacier's advance during this time will be derived by comparing several points in the two scans.
The TLS will return to Iceland in August with PI Pete La Femina, where he will scan a large fault system in Northern Iceland and an active volcano crater.
Figure 1 - Professors Sridhar Anandakrishnan and Peter La Femina scan Svinafellsjokull, one of the outlet glaciers that flow from Vatnajokull, Iceland's largest glacier. Svinafellsjokull was scanned a total of two times during the field course, and a velocity profile will be derived by comparing the two scans.
Figure 2 - Students Caroline O'Hara and Caitlin Walsh scan a dyke on a wall opposite Svinafellsjokull, in Skaftafell National Park.
Figure 3 - An image of a 3-D point cloud generated by a scan of a spectacular set of columnar joints on a beach near Vik, a town in southern Iceland.
Last modified: 2020-01-28 22:54:17 America/Denver