Presentation On Southern Iceland’s Geology And History Scheduled For Oct. 18 At Concord University

For Immediate Release: 
Oct 15 2012

CONTACT: Sarah Dalton
Concord University
Office of Advancement
PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712
(304) 384-6312,


ATHENS, W.Va. - “Geology and History of Southern Iceland” will be presented by Dr. Stephen Kuehn, assistant professor in Concord University’s Division of Natural Sciences, on Thursday, Oct. 18. The seminar begins at 5:15 p.m. in Room 400 of the Science Building. The public is invited and there is no admission charge.

Kuehn manages the electron microprobe lab at Concord and specializes in tephrochronology. His presentation is based on his participation in the September 2012 Quaternary Research Association (QRA) field conference: Holocene Tephrochronology and Applications in Southwest Iceland.

“Iceland is widely known for its active volcanoes, glaciers, spectacular scenery, and maybe also its sheep. It truly is a land of fire and ice,” Kuehn said. “Sometimes volcanic ash (tephra) from eruptions in Iceland can be far-travelled. In April-May of 2010, an eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano disrupted air travel across Europe and made headlines around the world. Grímsvötn volcano did the same a year later.

“Widespread ash fall is more than just a hazard. It is also a useful tool for understanding the past, and it forms the basis for the discipline known as tephrochronology. Ash from Icelandic volcanoes, has been used to date archaeological sites and to tie together important environmental records from Greenland, the Atlantic ocean floor, and Europe,” he said.

Kuehn’s presentation will survey some of the volcanic geology of Iceland, ways ash layers have been used for dating, sights (landscapes, waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers, architecture, birds, etc.), early human history (archeology), and how the arrival of people changed the island. Rock and ash samples will be available to view and touch.

Complete photos from the trip are located at:

Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086 if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.