Microscopic images of Icelandic rocks and minerals

Calcite under the microscope. All images by Roman Gerasymenko

Calcite under the microscope. All images by Roman Gerasymenko

So after our last little microscopic excursion into the wonderland of Icelandic nature, we were pretty much hooked and couldn’t wait to try-out this brilliant digital microscopic camera on other potentially fascinating items, like Icelandic rocks and minerals! Since I don’t have my own personal collection of such items (yet), we headed out to visit the Geothermal Energy Exhibition at Hellisheiði power plant – just outside of Reykjavik, where a geothermal specialist named Dr. Einar Gunnlaugsson keeps his rather impressive collection on display! We ended up spending the whole afternoon there photographing the entire collection in micro! In case you’d like to discover the more sciency side of things, Anna Yates has made a great translation (in English) of an excellent book called Icelandic Rocks and Mineralsco-authored by Kristjan Saemundsson and Einar Gunnlaugsson.

Celadonite under the microscope

Celadonite under the microscope. It get’s its name from the French word ‘celadon’ meaning ‘sea-green’.

Iceland Spar is known as 'silverberg' in Iceland and is a form of calcite. It is thought to be substance referred to as 'sunstone' which Vikings used to help them navigate on cloudy days at sea!

Iceland Spar is known as ‘silverberg’ in Iceland and is a form of calcite. It’s thought to be the substance known as ‘sunstone’ which Vikings used to help them navigate on cloudy days at sea!

This is called 'chalcopyrite' and is found in south-east Iceland.

This is called ‘chalcopyrite’ and is found in south-east Iceland.

Gabbro, like most of these minerals look even more interesting under the microscope. This substance is common in the East and on the Snaefellsnes peninsula in the West

Gabbro looks much more interesting under the microscope. This substance is common in the East and on the Snaefellsnes peninsula in the West.

Ignimbrite under the microscope. Image by Roman Gerasymenko

Ignimbrite forms during particularly explosive eruptions. The rock itself looks rather dull until you see it under the microscope!

This is fascinating stuff both in plain view and under the microscope. They call it 'witches hair' in Iceland (Nornahár).

This is fascinating stuff both in plain view and under the microscope. They call it ‘witches hair’ in Iceland (Nornahár).

The Jasper was the most eye catching specimen on display. It can be found in abundance at Hestafell in Borgafjordur.

The Jasper was the most eye catching specimen on display. It can be found in abundance at Hestafell in Borgafjordur.

Jasper with stripes of red and green.

Jasper with stripes of red and green.

This is scolecite. Looks a bit like a Christmas tree doesn't it? The name comes from the word 'skolex' which is ancient greek for worm!

This is scolecite. Looks a bit like a Christmas tree doesn’t it? The name comes from the word ‘skolex’ which is ancient greek for worm!

Pillow lava is formed under water or glaciers. It can be found in many places in Iceland. There's a hill near Reykjavik named 'Mosfell' which is composed entirely of this stuff!

Pillow lava is formed under water or glaciers. It can be found in many places in Iceland; in fact there’s a really nice hill near Reykjavik named ‘Mosfell’ which is composed entirely of this stuff!

Obsidian is called 'hrafntinna' in Iceland. Because it's rather glassy and attractive I was expecting it to look more spectacular under the microscope. See below for a non-magnified view.

Obsidian is called ‘hrafntinna’ in Iceland. Because it’s rather glassy and attractive I was expecting it to look more spectacular under the microscope. See below for a non-magnified view.

Obsidian is beautifully black and glassy.

Obsidian is beautifully black and glassy.

 

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