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Giant Metallic ‘Steed’ Traverses Iceland’s Threatened Glacier

Instead of riding a snowshoe slowly, a huge bus crosses Iceland’s second-largest glacier and wipes out passengers up to 60 km per hour. This predicts that scientists will be nearly gone by the end of this century.

The Red Glacier Megabus is 15 meters (50 feet) long and is fitted with giant tires for towing across the powder snow of the vast Langjokull ice cap in western Iceland.





The glacier megabass was named Sleipnir after the mythical eight-legged horse on which the Norse god Odin was riding.
AFP / Halldor KOLBEINS

Glaciers were formed about 2,500 years ago, and due to thawing and refreezing, glaciers believe that the oldest ice in glaciers is 500 years old.

From its highest point, about 1,450 meters, you can see other snow-covered summits, including Okjokull, the country’s first glacier officially lost to climate change in 2014.



The bus is 15 meters (50 feet) long and has eight wheels with a diameter of 2 meters.


The bus is 15 meters (50 feet) long and has eight wheels with a diameter of 2 meters.
AFP / Halldor KOLBEINS

Powered by an 850-horsepower engine, the tour bus is like a science fiction movie, with eight wheels 2 meters in diameter that move smoothly through icy terrain.

It was named “Sleipnir” after the mythical eight-legged horse on which the Norse god Odin was riding.



Glacier Bus was created by Astvaldur Oskarsson, 59 (pictured)


Glacier Bus was created by Astvaldur Oskarsson, 59 (pictured)
AFP / Halldor KOLBEINS

When strong winds blow up fresh snow on October, a bus created by enthusiastic mechanic Astvaldur Oskarsson (59), who runs a professional storage company, rises high and emerges from low clouds into a bright blue sky.

The Italian couple is one of the few travelers who bravely confronted the double Covid-19 test and five-day quarantine required upon arrival in Iceland.



According to scientists, Iceland's second-largest Langjokull is expected to have almost disappeared by the end of this century.


According to scientists, Iceland’s second-largest Langjokull is expected to have almost disappeared by the end of this century.
AFP / Halldor KOLBEINS

“It’s very moving. When you touch something very old, you feel a lot of contact with the earth,” Italy’s Rossera Greco, 30, told AFP about a tour of Skr 10,000 (about € 60 or $ 71). I will.

Depending on the dimensions of the bus, it can cross a crevasse 3 meters wide, but it also means spewing 45 liters (12 gallons) of gasoline per km, leaving a deep mark in the snow.



Due to its size, the bus can cross a 3 meter wide crevasse


Due to its size, the bus can cross a 3 meter wide crevasse
AFP / Halldor KOLBEINS

However, according to Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson, a glaciologist at the Icelandic Meteorological Bureau, the impact on glaciers is “small as long as one or two vehicles”.



Langjokull formed about 2,500 years ago


Langjokull formed about 2,500 years ago
AFP / Halldor KOLBEINS

Along the way up from the foot of the Langjokull, there are signs indicating ice lines every 20 years since 1940. This reminds us of how quickly glaciers are thinning.

Since 1890 and the end of the Little Ice Age, about 250 square kilometers (97 square miles) of surface area have evaporated.

“Glacier elevations are low in many places,” 20-year tour guide Gunnar Gudjonsson told AFP.

“So it’s actually a new mountain or new Nunatak (a mountain ridge or summit protruding from an ice field) coming out of a glacier,” he added.

“It’s incredible how fast it melts.”

In August, a glacial lake dam formed by snowmelt broke, causing floods.

“It wasn’t a big event, but it happened in an area where we weren’t used to such a phenomenon,” Sauce Tyneson said.

A powerful flood called the Yorkle Freup is normal around Iceland and Europe’s largest Batna Yorktor glacier.

However, these are generally due to volcanic activity.

However, floods should occur more regularly in glaciers elsewhere in Iceland as global warming accelerates melting.

The Langjokull has a small chance of survival, Source Tyneson warned.

“If this continues in a similar way, or even in warmer climates, it is very likely that all, or perhaps 80 to 90 percent, of the Langjokull will be gone by the end of this century,” he said.



Giant Metallic ‘Steed’ Traverses Iceland’s Threatened Glacier Source link Giant Metallic ‘Steed’ Traverses Iceland’s Threatened Glacier

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