05. December 2022

World Soil Day

Today is World Soil Day and on the occasion, we would like to share a special soil profile that was done in 2018 by the company Neðanjarðar for Katla Geopark in cooperation with Vatnajökull National Park. In this sample, ash layers from many volcanic systems within the Geopark and National Park can be traced back at least 7000 years, with the eruption history from the volcanic systems of Katla, Grímsvötn, Bárðabunga, Öræfajökull and surrounding volcanoes such as Hekla. The idea for the making of the profile originated from Dr. Bergrún Anna Ólafsdóttir, a specialist in tephrochronology at the Jarðvísindastofnun Háskólans at the University of Iceland. She contacted Katla Geopark and Vatnajökull National Park when she was made aware of this significantly large and undisturbed profile, which was exposed during construction of the new bridge at Ása-Eldvatn River in Skaftartunga region (close to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, eastern part of Katla Geopark). The sample gives an incredible opportunity to trace the eruption history, highly correlated with some of Iceland´s most notorious eruptions, influencing human hardships and development from the beginning of settlement time.
The making of the profile was done by company Neðanjarðar (which have done many more soil profiles all over Iceland, including LAVAcentre and Stracta Hotels) and was funded by a special grant from the NGO of Vinir Vatnajökuls (Friends of Vatnajokull National Park).
The soil of Katla Geopark is highly influenced by many of its volcanic systems, especially ash, and therefore the same can be said about many of agricultural practices and products from the area! For instance, it is believed that ash can have a negative impact in the beginning but a positive long-term effect on grains grown in the Geopark. One can therefor truly, “taste the famous volcanoes” of Katla Geopark, so to speak!

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