Reynisfjara Beach, Iceland

August 26, 2020


Photographer: Salvatore Cerruto
Summary Author: Salvatore Cerruto 

One of the many geological wonders on the island of Iceland is the black sand of Reynisfjara beach, on a volcanic bay in the south of Iceland. This beach is often on lists of the most beautiful beaches of the world. The sand here is derived from weathered basalt.

Basalt columns, best seen at upper right, form as iron and magnesium-rich basalt lava cools and contracts. Once exposed to the surface air it hardens and solidifies. Generally, the fracture pattern begins at the cooler surface and is propagated downward as the cooling process spreads, forming long, geometric — and usually hexagonally shaped — columns of rock. To me, this rock formation resembles a fallen dragon, one of the majestic beasts sometimes associated with fantasy films on exotic islands like Iceland. Photo taken on September 25, 2017.