Walking along the endless basalt beaches of Southern Iceland with the expansive Atlantic ocean to one side and towering cliffs to the other, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the chilly windswept scene had always existed. You'd be surprised!
Ten million years ago what would eventually coalesce into these basalt cliffs was belched out of the bowels of the earth in raging rivers of liquid fire. This violent birth ended several billion years of darkness within the Earth with a first glimpse of the sun. Over the next several million years the wind, ice and rain carved the newborn rock into the craggy cliffs, smoking volcanoes, riven fjords, lonesome boulders and cloud-shrouded peaks of Iceland.
Unsatisfied with their creation, these relentless sculptors continued to chip away at the rock. The rivers smoothed out pebbles, the glaciers ground out moraine and the wind scratched for manny millenia until all that was left was the innumerable grains of black sand on this beach. In this form they will soak up their last rays of sunshine before disappearing beneath the waves and sinking to the dark depths of the Atlantic.
Their story will not end there though. The Atlantic itself is young and changing. Formed around 100 million years ago when two continental plates began moving apart it has been expanding ever since. It is likely that at some point in the distant future that our fragments of rock will once again be swallowed by the earth, and then even further in the future, be spat back out onto the surface somewhere far away from Iceland into an unrecognizable world.
Although seemingly eternal when compared to our short lifespans, the cliffs, the mountains and the oceans are all constantly changing and being reinvented. Everything is impermanent.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L IS