Iceland 2007
Keck Junior Research Project:
The Arnes Central Volcano

Iceland Keck 2007 group:
left to right: Mike Bernstein (Amherst College), Kamilla Fellah (College of Wooster), Dan Hadley (Augustana College)
Paul Olin (Washington State Univ.), Brennan Jordan (Univ. of South Dakota), Caitlyn Perlman (Colgate University)
Beth Drewes (DePauw University), Lynne Stewart (Oberlin College).  Not shown: Bob Wiebe (Franklin & Marshall College)

Director: Brennan Jordan (The University of South Dakota)
Bob Wiebe (Franklin and Marshall College)
TA: Paul Olin (Washington State University)

Six students representing the Keck Consortium joined the project faculty on a month-long research expedition to the Westfjords of northwestern Iceland.  The project followed up on the 2003 and 2004 Iceland Keck projects, by focusing on the Arnes central volcano which falls in between the two previously studied sites.  The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is exposed above sea level at Iceland (Fig. 1) due to the interaction of the ridge with a hotspot (generally interpreted as a mantle plume).  Plate motion causes the ridge to migrate westward off of the hotspot.  The ridge periodically ‘jumps’ to recenter on the hotspot, abandoning the old ridge.  The last ridge-segment to be abandoned goes through the Skagi area and Snæfellsnes Peninsula; it was active from 15 to 7 Ma (Fig. 2).  The Arnes central volcano formed on the now abandoned rift about 11 million years ago, in between the times of activity at the previous Keck project sites (Westfjords ~14 Ma, and Skagi  8.6-7.0 Ma.  All three projects focused on the areas around Tertiary central volcanoes where diverse arrays of compositions (basalt to rhyolite) could be studied.  Our studies included mapping and sampling in the field and petrography and geochemistry (XRF and ICP-MS) back in the lab.  During the 2007-2008 academic year the students and faculty of the project will collaborate to interpret the geochemistry and petrography of these rocks to document the processes of magma genesis in the Arnes central volcano and to compare and contrast these results with the 2003 and 2004 study areas.  We will then consider the implications for variation in petrologic processes on the rift through time and the implications for models of rifting and mantle plume activity in Iceland.

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