Picture of the Day: The Black Sand Beaches of Iceland
THE BLACK SAND BEACHES OF ICELAND
In this incredible photograph we see the striking black sand beaches of Iceland (complete with ice..on..land :P). What creates black sand? Volcanoes. And Iceland has a lot of them. The island has 30 active volcanic systems, of which 13 have erupted since the settlement of Iceland in 874 AD [Source].
When lava contacts water, it cools rapidly and shatters into sand and fragmented debris of various size. Much of the debris is small enough to be considered sand. A large lava flow entering an ocean may produce enough lava fragments to build a new black sand beach almost over night. The famous “black sand” beaches of Hawaii, such as Punaluu Black Sand Beach, and Kehena Beach, were created virtually instantaneously by the violent interaction between hot lava and sea water [Source].
*Many thanks to Anastasia for her help in identifying the photographer. Cheers!