Svínafellsjökull icefall lay in a valley between Svínafellsheiði and Hafrafell. It is an icefall from Öræfajökull which is the highest mountain/glacier in Iceland around 2109 meters high.
I spent several nights beneath Svínafellsjökull icefall in May, both 2015 and 2016, recording 8-10 hours overnight recording. I was always trying to capture iceberg breakdown into the glacier lagoon, because last time I record it in 2014 it was disturbed with huge tsunami.
But most of the breakdown was probably somewhere between 1300-1700 meters, high in the mountain.
Anyway, during the night when traffic goes down and the weather was calm, it was always interesting to listen to the glacier in the „silence“. It starts like a thunder with low frequency rumble, high in the mountains. Then a strange „white noise“ falls slowly down the the wally, all the way to the end of the icefall toe. I am still not sure if it was an echo from the mountain or some crawling sound from the glacier. But it was so slow that I am almost sure that it is was not an echo from surrounding mountains.
But this is not what you will hear in the following recording. After one of this overnight recording in 15th of May 2016 I decided to record near to a frozen pond close to the glacier’s toe. The time was around eight o´clock in the morning so the tourist traffic had not began to disturb the soundscape. The temperature was just below zero, but the morning sun was already melting the ice in the area. The soundscape was amazing. With closed eyes it sounds like a busy place with bunch of small elves. Small trickle, ticks and cracks makes the soundscape worth to listen and to record.
At 17th minute the glacier start to crawl and then again one minute later with low frequency rumble.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level.
An outwash plain, also called a sandur is a plain formed of glacial sediments deposited by meltwater outwash at the terminus of a glacier. As it flows, the glacier grinds the underlying rock surface and carries the debris along. The meltwater at the snout of the glacier deposits its load of sediment over the outwash plain, with larger boulders being deposited near the terminal morraine, and smaller particles travelling further before being deposited. Sandurs are common in Iceland where geothermal activity accelerates the melting of ice flows and the deposition of sediment by meltwater.
The original sandur from which the general name is derived is Skeiðarársandur, a broad sandy wasteland along Iceland’s south-eastern coast, between the Vatnajökull icecap and the sea. Skeiðarársandur is the largest sandur in the world, covering an area of 1,300 km2 (500 sq mi). Volcanic eruptions under the icecap have given rise to many large glacial bursts (jökulhlaups in Icelandic), most recently in 1996, when the Ring Road was washed away (minor floods have also occurred since then). This road, which encircles Iceland and was completed in 1974, has since been repaired. The 1996 jökulhlaup was caused by the eruption of the Grímsvötn volcano, with peak flow estimated to be 50,000 m3/s (1,800,000 cu ft/s) compared to the normal summer peak flow of 200 to 400 m3/s (7,100–14,100 cu ft/s). Net deposition of sediment was estimated to be 12,800,000 m3 (450,000,000 cu ft).
The main braided channels of Skeiðarársandur are the Gígjukvísl and Skeiðará rivers, which incurred net gains of 29 and 24 cm (11.4 and 9.4 in) respectively during the 1996 jökulhlaup. In the Gígjukvísl there was massive sediment deposition of up to 12 m (39 ft), which occurred closest to the terminus of the glacier. The erosional patterns of Skeiðarársandur can be seen by looking at the centimeter-scale elevation differences measured with repeat-pass laser altimetry (LIDAR) flown in 1996 (pre-flood), 1997, and 2001. Of the overall deposition during the 1996 jökulhlaup, nearly half of the net gain had been eroded 4 years after the flood. These two rivers on the sandur display drastically different erosional patterns. The difference in sediment erosion can be attributed to the 2 km (1.2 mi) wide trench near the terminus where the Gígjukvísl flows, in contrast with the Skeiðará, which has braided flows directly onto the outwash plain. The Gígjukvísl river is where some of the highest level of sediment deposit occurred and also where the largest erosion happened afterward. This indicates that these massive jökulhlaup deposits may have a large geomorphic impact in the short term, but the net change on the surface relief could be minimal after a couple years to a decade. (*Wikipedia)
This recording is just 23 minutes of 1o hours long overnight recording. It is very quiet and highly amplified. The microphones are unexpected located near to Northern Wheatear´s nest which is between stones in old ruins in the middle of Skeiðarársandur. You can hear wing flaps and some kind of a conversation between the birds and the youngsters. The birds sounds a little bit out of phase but that could be either because the bird is mostly behind the microphones, or the stone wall, or because the fury windshield was still soaking wet after heavy rain one hour earlier.
At 1:35 min a thunderous boom sounds from glacier in distance. During the recording the weather changed from calm to be windy.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.
Sögur af Skeiðarársandi 1. hluti
Hér er á ferðinni rúmlega 20 mínútna löng upptaka sem er partur af 10 klst langri næturupptöku frá því 29. maí 2016 á Skeiðarársandi. Á sandinum svo til miðjum er hlaðin rúst sem líklega hefur gengt því hlutverki að vera fjárrétt áður en árnar á sandinum voru brúaðar. Í upptökunni má heyra að í vegghleðsluni er hreiður Steindepils. Hann pirrar sig eitthvað á óboðnum gesti þessa nótt, hljóðnemunum, en virðist svo líka eiga einhver samskipti við unga sína með lágværu tísti eða muldri. Heyra má að á þessum rúmu 20 mínútum að veðrið breytist frá því að vera logn yfir í rok.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á upptökuna í góðum opnum heyrnartólum og á miðlungs- lágum hljóðstyrk.
The 10th of July 2015 I visited Ásbyrgi national park, in the north east Iceland.
I arrived around 9 pm. The weather was rather cold, with light drizzle rain. However there was a sport game on the old camp side held by the local community. Calls, yell and sheers from audience sounded fantastic in the echo from the surrounding cliffs. Mixed with the birdsong from the forest and the cliffs above it sounded like I was in another world.
I found a good place to record this amazing soundscape.
Soon I noticed a boring noise in the background from petrol power generator so the recording was shorter than I hoped .
When I came back to the car park the sport game was finished and the people were leaving the place. I heard someone in the crowd playing on Mbira thump piano. It came from female in traditional dress. Her instrument sounded nice in this place, so I enjoyed listening while I was packing my gear in the car.
Some Icelandic male in the crowd called after her: ‘Where are you from?“
„I am from everywhere“ she repleted.
Funny answer, I thought and started to listen to the conversations. Why not record her while she was playing?
She gave me a permission, so we took a walk to Botnstjörn pound in the bottom of Ásbyrgi.
Her name is Jessica Rose, with nickname Fairy.
I did not dare to ask her about her nationality, but her English was from the west, maybe from Canada, or north east USA. She was traveling in Iceland with her sister and two friends.
Fairy in Ásbyrgi
Um miðjan júlí 2015 kom ég við í Ásbyrgi. Ég hafði gefið mér nægan tíma þar árið áður svo ég ætlaði ekki að að eyða þar miklum tíma heldur fara á aðra staði í þjóðgarðinum sem ég hafði „hljóðstað“ á.
Ég kom á bílastæðið í botni Ásbyrgis um kl. 21. Á gamla tjaldsvæðinu stóð yfir íþróttamót. Það var því óvenju mikið af bílum og fólki á svæðinu. Hvattningarköll áhorfenda bergmáluðu sérkennilega milli klettanna í bland við fuglasöng úr skóginum og fýlahjal ofan úr klettunum. Ég rauk því til og fann mér upptökkustað. En það leið ekki á löngu að suð frá bensínrafstöð á keppnissvæðinu fór að pirra mig. Upptakan var því styttri en til stóð.
Þegar á bílastæðið var komið var fólk að streyma af mótssvæðinu. Heyri ég þá að einhver spilar á þumalpiano sem hljómaði skemmtilega á þessum stað. Var þar á ferð dama að nafni Jessica Rose sem vildi láta kalla sig Fairy. Var hún þarna í félagsskap með systur sinni og tveimur öðrum vinum á ferð um landið.
Ég stóst ekki mátið. Ég fékk leyfi hjá henni til að taka tónlist hennar upp og var það gert á pallinum við Botnstjörn.
Vatnajökull is the largest ice cap in Europe by volume (3,100 km³). Vatnajökull has around 30 outlet glaciers (icefall) flowing from the ice cap. Svíafellsjökull is one of them.
Glaciers are not a playground for everyone. They have its own weather system and the gravity force will destroy everything that get lost in the ice.
Two British students lost their lives 1953 in a storm which lasted for 10 days on the glacier. It was not until 2003 that some of their equipment was found, carried forward with the movement of the outlet glacier. No human remains were found.
Two German tourist have been missing since 1st of August 2007 when they were on a hiking trip on Svínafellsjökull. Nobody knows what really happened but it is most likely that they fell in a swallow somewhere on the glacier, but their equipment was found in a small valley, high in the nearby mountains.
All glaciers have been shrinking fast last decade. That can be easily seen at the end of Svínafellsjökull witch now has a big glacier lagoon that did not exist few years ago.
As glaciers the glacier lagoons can be also dangerous. Icebergs can suddenly fall off the icefall and make huge waves in the lagoon, also when icebergs turns around or brake down in a parts.
I got in touch of these forces when I was recording the lagoon under Svínafellsjökull, 23rd of May 2014. I hid the equipment from other tourist in a landslide nearby and about two meters above the lagoon surface. Two Aquarian hydrophones where placed in the lagoon and a pair of MKH20 was used to pick up the sounds above the lagoon. The idea was to record in two or three hours.
I was in another place with my second recorder to record a sound close by the glacier.
After one and half hour I suddenly hear a big „bang“ with a long powerful echo from nearby mountains. All the icebergs on the lagoon suddenly moved around as a beans in a boiling pot.
I ran to the recorder´s place on the other side of the lagoon. The bag with the recorder was floating between the Icebergs so it was no problem to locate it in the muddy water. I disconnect the battery and took it inside to dry it as fast as I could. But nevertheless, it had several malfunctions since this drowning.
I am not sure what really happened. The flood line does´t goes all the away to the recorder´s place. I think it is most likely that some icebergs pulled the recorder by the hydrophones into the lagoon.
Thanks to Sound Devices in US and the reseller in Iceland (Pfaff-Borgarljós and Bragi Kort) I got a new recorder for a very nice price. Most of the loss was then covered by the insurances.
Flóðbylgjan við Svínafellsjökul
Jöklar og umhverfi þeirra getur verið hættulegt þeim sem það ekki þekkjir. Jöklarnir eru síbreytilegir og hafa sitt eigið veðrakerfi. Því ber að umgangast þá með varúð. Skemmst er að minnast hvarf tveggja þjóðverja á Svínafellsjökli þann 1. ágúst 2007 .
Mér var það svo sem lika ljóst að jökullón geta verið hættuleg þann 23. maí 2014 þegar ég staðsetti upptökutæki við jökullónið neðan við Svínafellsjökul. Tveir Aquarian vatnahljóðnemar voru staðsettir ofan í lóninu og aðrir tveir MKH20 hljóðnemar ofan við lónið. Sjálfur fór ég með annað upptökutæki til að hljóðrita upp við jökulinn sjálfan.
En líklega er aldrei of varlega farið. Eftir u.þ.b. eina og hálfa klukkustund kvað við mikill hvellur frá jökulsporðinum sem bargmálaði í fjöllunum ofan við jökulinn. Stuttu síðar fór allt jökullónið á hreyfingu eins og iðandi suðupottur. Mér varð því ljóst að upptökutækið við lónið gæti verið í hættu. Hljóp ég því sem fætur toguðu að staðnum, en allt kom fyrir ekki. Tækið var komið út í lónið og flaut þar í tösku milli ísjaka. Eftir að hafa þrifið það og þurrkað kom í ljós að tækið hafði bilað varanlega eftir þessa sundferð.
Allt bendir til þess að ísjaki hafi dregið tækið í lónið á vatnahljóðnemunum því flóðlínan hafði ekki náð upp að staðnum þar sem tækið hafði staðið. En skaðinn var skeður sem leytist þó á endanum þokkalega farsællega þó tjónið hafi verið eitthvert. Með óútskýranlegum hætti vistaði upptökutækið upptökuna áður en það drukknaði. Það sem hér má heyra eru síðustu andartök tækisins.
Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Aquarian H2n-XLR & Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pics: Canon EOS-M (See more pictures)
Recording location: 64.007509, -16.883081
Weather: Calm, cloudy, around 9°C
Jökulsárgljúfur canyon in Vatnajökull National Park is situated in the north of Iceland near the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum. In the middle of Jökulsárgljúfur, between Dettifoss waterfall and Ásbyrgi canyon, is Vesturdalur valley.
Vesturdalur is mostly surrounded with steep cliffs with luxuriant flat bottom. Through the valley flows a small creek, Vesturdalsá, on its way to the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum.
The first week in June 2014 I arrived there on a foggy night and placed the microphones close beside the creek. The soundscape in the fog was particular. The rumble sound from Jökulsá River about 3 km away, filled the air with extreme murky mysterious power. But all around me was a beautiful bird song that followed me in to the sleep.
This recording is several hours long so it is most likely that more of this recording will be available online someday.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this recording trip possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.
Vestudalur við Jökulsá á fjöllum
Þann 8. júní 2014 eftir miðnætti kom ég í Vesturdal við Jökulsárgljúfur. Talsverð þoka var á svæðinu svo skyggni var fremur lélegt. Mikil frðsæld var í dalnum enda mjög fáir á svæðinu. Fjölskrúðugur fuglasöngur kom úr öllum áttum, en loftið var þrungið drungalegum drunum frá Jökulsá á Fjöllum í austri. Áður en ég lagðist til svefns fann ég stað fyrir hljóðnemana við bakka Vesturdalsár sem liðaðiðst hljóðlega um dalinn.
Um leið og tækið var komið í gang leið ekki á löngu þar til ég var kominn í draumheima með notalegan fuglasöng í eyrunum næstu klukkustundir fram undir morgun.
Þessa upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á upptökuna í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.
Ásbyrgi was most likely formed by catastrophic glacial flooding of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum after the last Ice Age, first 8-10,000 years ago, and then again some 3,000 years ago. The river has since changed its course and now runs about 2 km to the east. The legend explains the unusual shape of the canyon differently. Nicknamed Sleipnir’s footprint, it is said that the canyon was formed when Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, touched one of its feet to the ground. Legend also relates that the canyon is the capital city of the „hidden people“ (huldufólk), who live in cracks within the surrounding cliffs.
The area is covered in woodland consisting mainly of birch, willow and mountain ash. Several thousand recently planted pines also prospers.
At its innermost end lies Botnstjörn, a small pond surrounded by luxuriant vegetation. The pond is a home to a variety of waterfowl species like Wigeon and Red-necked Phalarope. Arctic Fulmar nest is on the steep cliffs, while many other birds prefer the woods and meadows.
The recording was made around two am the sixth of June 2014.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this recording trip to Ásbyrgi possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at medium-low level.
Botnstjörn í Ásbygi
Hér er á ferðinni næturupptaka sem gerð var kl 2 eftir miðnætti á útsýnispallinum við Botnsjörn í Ásbyrgi þann 6. júní 2014.
Á upptökunni er helst að heyra í fýl ofan úr bjarginu, rauðhöfðaönd á tjörninni og nokkrum öðrum fuglategundum s.s. músarindli og skógarþresti innan úr skóginum. Þá steypist lítil lækjarspræna ofan af klettinum ofan í grjóturð framan við hljóðnemana.
Þessari upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á miðlungs lágum hljóðstyrk.
It was early morning 20th of May 2014, when I and my friend arrive in to the campsite in Skaftafell national park, after almost five hours drive from Reykjavik.
There was just several tents on the campsite so we could easily find a quiet place in distance from other tents. I placed the microphones 30 meters from the tent, started recording and fell asleep.
The following 25 minutes long recording is what happened next. It is nice soundscape of early spring in Iceland without noise from human activity.
Many bird species are audible in this recording. Common snipe, Whimbrell, Red-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, European Golden Plover, European, Oystercatcher, Whooper Swan, Redwing, Meadow Pipit and Rock Ptarmigan. There are probably many other bird species audible in this recording which I have not a clue the names on.
The recording this morning was about 6 hours long so I will probably continue to publish more of it later one.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this rercording trip possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.
Vor í Skaftafelli 2014
Það voru nokkuð þreyttir menn sem mættu á tjaldsvæðið í Skaftafelli rétt fyrir kl 4 að nóttu þann 20. maí 2014.
Fáir voru á svæðinu svo það var auðvelt að finna stað fyrir tjaldið. Áður en gengið var til náða voru hljóðnemar settir upp 30 metrum frá tjaldinu og upptaka látin ganga langt fram undir morgun.
Sú 25 mínútu langa upptaka sem hér fylgir hefst u.þ.b. 20 mínútum eftir að við vorum sofnaðir.
Á upptökunni má heyra í mörgum fuglategundum, þar á meðal í hrossagauk, spóa, skógarþresti, rjúpu, og álft sem og mörgum öðrum sem ég ætla að leyfa hlustendum um að þekkja og skrifa nöfnin á í ummælum hér fyrir neðan.
Þessari upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.