Nikki Rumpca* - University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Field excursions to Iceland in the summers of 2009 and 2010 provided an opportunity to observe before and after changes in Icelandic landscape as due to the April 14, 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption. The impact from eruption completely covered the surrounding landscape and generated flooding as glacial melt water rushed to the sea via the Markarfljot River. In the summer of 2010, I participated in a field survey analyzing the impact of the ash on the vegetation in Thorsmork. Careful analysis of the ash impact from June 3, 2010 to August 30, 2010 was conducted. Ash samples were gathered for the University of Iceland in Reykjavik along the Laugavegur trek in early June to allow for the creation of maps showing the distribution and extent of ash fall. Numerous images of plants, ash distribution, and landscape changes were recorded each day. Together with researchers from Soil Conservation Service and the Gunnarsholt field station, vegetation was classified in sample plots with three distinct characteristics. The sample sites were of a dense forest, young forest, and gravel to show the various effects from ash. Three separate 10 x 10 meter plots were constructed at each site to specifically evaluate the vegetation and impact from ash. Data collected were recorded on a log sheet with images. Over this time, remarkable changes in the landscape were observed. I anticipate returning to Iceland in 2011 to continue field surveys of landscape rejuvenation.