NAT

Geography and nature

About Iceland’s Geography and Nature

Iceland is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, located near the Arctic Circle, between Greenland and Norway. An island of 103.000 km2 (40,000 square miles), it is about the same size as Hungary and Portugal, or Kentucky and Virginia. Iceland is the second largest island in Europe, following Great Britain, and the 18th largest island in the world. The coastline is 4,970 km, and Iceland maintains a 200 nautical-miles exclusive economic zone. It takes approximately five hours to fly from New York to Reykjavík, and three hours from London.

Iceland is one of the youngest landmasses on the planet, and consequently home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes. The island owes its existence to a large volcanic fissure in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet. Even today, the country is growing by about 5 cm per year, as it splits wider at the points where two tectonic plates meet.

In 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted and in 2011 Grímsvötn. The latest volcanic eruption was in Holuhraun from August 2014 to February 2015. The eruption produced a lava field of more than 85 km2 (33 sq mi) and 1.4 km3 (0.34 cu mi) – the largest in Iceland since 1783.

Iceland’s highest peak is Hvannadalshnjúkur, standing 2.119 metres (6852 ft) over sea level. and over 11 percent of the country is covered by glaciers, including Vatnajökull, the largest in Europe. Its land mass comprises glaciers (12,000 km2), lava (11,000 km2), sand (4,000 km2), water (3,000 km2) and pasture (1,000 km2).

Iceland is the least populated country in Europe. Almost 80% of the country is uninhabited, and much of its terrain consists of plateaux, mountain peaks, and fertile lowlands. There are many long, deep fjords and glaciers, including Europe’s largest, Vatnajökull. Its landscape’s is characterized by waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, black sand beaches and otherworldly steaming lava fields.

Iceland has very mild, coastal weather, stemming from the Gulf Stream. The weather is also affected by the East Greenland polar current curving south-eastwards round the north and east coasts. The average summer temperature in Reykjavik is 10.6°C/51°F in July, with average highs of 24.3°C/76°F. The average winter temperature in Reykjavik is similar to New York City’s, about 0°C/32°F in January (average highs are 9.9°C/50°C). The weather can be very unpredictable and often changes in an instant.

Source and photo: www.iceland.is

 

Articles in Geography and nature

National Forests

The Icelandic Forest Service (IFS) is a government institution responsible for... more

Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant

Exploration and Planning started already in 1947 and was continued for two... more

Kerid Slag Crater

The slag crater Kerid is the northernmost one of the crater row called... more

Blue Lagoon – The History

The Blue Lagoon was created accidentally by the condense discharge from the... more

Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant

The plant is located on one of the major high temperature areas of the... more

Strokkur Geyser

Strokkur geyser is the most active sprouting hot spring in the Haukadalur... more

Winter Visits to SKAFTAFELL National Park

For your own safety it is of highest importance to take necessary precautions... more

Wild Mammals in Iceland

Iceland cannot boast of many species of wild animals compared to many other... more

Arctic Fox in Iceland

The arctic fox (Alopex Lagopus) is believed to have occupied Iceland since the... more

Mink in Iceland

In 1931, the mink (Mustela Vison) was imported for fur farming Quite a few... more

Polar Bears in Iceland

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus, formerly Thalarctos maritimus) is also called... more

Rabbits in Iceland

Rabbits imported as pets have become a part of the wild fauna of severaæ parts... more

Reindeer in Iceland

The reindeer (Rangifer Tarandus) is a relatively new addition to the wild... more

Rodents in Iceland

Only four species of rodents occur in Iceland, the wood mouse (Apodemus... more

Birds of the South

The extensive alluvial or outwash plains (sander) of the eastern south coast,... more

Birds of the Southwest

In the capital and its vicinity, there are several good places for observing... more

Birds of the West

About 50 km from Reykjavik and only a short distance from the main road, Lake... more

Birds of the Westfjords

The mountainous and indented northwest peninsula has several places of... more

Birds of the North

In the northern lowlands, between the villages of Hvammstangi and Blonduos,... more

Birds of the East

There is a large bird cliff on the peninsula Langanes in the northeastern... more

Birds of the Interior

Most of the interior plateau is devoid of vegetation, except in a few areas,... more

Common Seal

The common seal or the harbour seal gets 2 m long and weighs up to 150 kg It... more

Grey Seal or Horse Head Seal

In common grey seal areas outside Iceland it seems to be polygamous According... more

Hooded Seal

The hooded seal’s primary habitats are around Greenland and Newfoundland It... more

Harp Seal

The harp seal’s habitats are mostly in the Arctic Ocean on both sides of... more

Bearded Seal

The bearded seal’s habitats are mainly scattered all over the Arctic Ocean It... more

Walrus

In earlier times there was only one breed of walruses It developed in different... more

Ringed Seal

The ringed seal’s primary habitat is the northern Arctic Ocean It also exists... more

Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) (HÁHYRNINGUR)

Adult males are 7-10 m long and weigh 4½-10 tons and females are 5½-8½ m and... more

Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, (HNÚFUBAKUR)

The hump back whale (Lat Megaptera novaeangliae) in Icelandic waters is 12,5-13... more

Minke Whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata (HREFNA – HRAFNREYÐUR)

The minke whale (Lat Balaenoptera acutorostrata) seldom grows longer than 9 m... more

Fin Whale (LANGREYÐUR)

The males are about 18 m long and the females about 19,5 m The males weigh 50... more

Sei Whale Balaenoptera borealis SANDREYÐUR

The sei whale (Lat Balaenoptera borealis) is 12½-15 m long in Icelandic waters... more

Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus STEYPIREYÐUR

Blue whales (Lat Balaenoptera musculus) in Icelandic waters are 22-25 m long... more

Northern Bottlenose Whale Hyperoodon ampullatus ANDARNEFJA

In Icelandic waters the average size of male adults is 8,4 m and 7½-8½ tons,... more

Long Finned Pilot Whale, Globicephala melas, GRINDHVALUR

Males are 6-8 m long and weigh 4-5 tons, females 4-6 m, and 2-3 tons The... more

Sperm Whale, Physeter catodon, BÚRHVALUR

Fully grow adult males are 17-20 m long and weigh 40-52 tons Females are 8-17 m... more

White Beaked Dolphin, Lagenorbynchus albirostris, BLETTAHNÝÐIR

Adult males are about 3 m long and weigh 250-370 kg Females are 2½-3 m long... more

Harbour Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, HNÍSA

Adult males weigh about 7 kg and are less than 2 m long Females are equally... more

Common Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, LÉTTIR

Adult males are 1,8-2,6 m long and weigh 80-140 kg Females are 1,7-2,3 m long... more

Beluga Whale, Delphinaptesrus leucas, MJALDUR

Adult males are 4,2 – 5,5 m long and weigh 1-1,6 tons Females are 3-4,1 m... more

Narwhal, Monodon monoceros, NÁHVALUR

Adult males around Iceland are 4-6 m long and weigh 1,2 – 1,6 tons and the... more

Twaite Shad

The twaite shad (Alosa fallax) is mainly found in the Baltic Sea, up along the... more

The Northern Bluefin Tuna

The northern bluefin tuna (giant gluefin tuna - Lat Thunnus thynnus) inhabits... more

Toad Crab or Small Spider Crab

The toad crab's (Lat Hyas araneus) habitat is in shallow waters all around... more

Thornback Ray

The thornback ray's (Lat Raja clavata) snout is very short and almost at an... more

Spotted Catfish

The spotted catfish's (Lat Anarrhichas minor) habitat is above the ocean floor... more

Common Skate

The common skate (Lat Raja batis linnaeus) has a pointed snout Its length is... more

Edible Sea Urchin

The life cycle of a sea urchin (Lat Echinus esculentus) starts by spawning... more

Sea or Arctic Char

The sea or arctic char (Lat Salvelinus alpinus) is mainly to be found in the... more

Catfish – Seawolf

The catfish (seawolf, Atlantic catfish, Atlantic wolffish, wolf eel - Lat... more

The Icelandic Salmon

Salmon (Lat Salmo salar) fishing was practised in Iceland from its earliest... more

Saithe – Pollock

The saithe's (Lat Pollachius virens) habitat is in the North Atlantic Ocean,... more

European Plaice

The plaice's (Lat Pleuronectes platessa linnaeus) habitats are in the Northeast... more

Orange Roughy

The orange roughy's (Lat Hoplostethus islandicus) habitat is mainly off the... more

Opah – King Fish – Sun Fish

The opah's (Lat Lampris guttatus or luna) mouth is toothless and can be... more

Ocean Perch – Redfish – Norway Haddock

The ocean perch (Lat Sebastes marinus) lives near the sea floor close to land... more

Norway Pout

The Norway pout's (Lat Boreogadus esmarki) habitats are in the Northeast... more

Norway Lobster

The Norway lobster (Dublin Bay prawn, langoustine, scampi - Lat Nephrops... more

Northern Horse Mussel

The northern horse mussel (Lat Modiola modiola) is one of the most common... more

Northern Shrimp

The northern shrimp (Lat Pandalus borealis) is one of the animals called... more

Megrim – Whiff – Sail Fluke

The megrim's habitats are off the coasts of Europe, from the Trondheim's Bay in... more

Lumpsucker or Lumpfish

The lumpfish (Lat Cyclopterus lumpus) has no scales and the ventral fins form a... more

Ling

The ling's (Lat Molva Molva) habitat is in the northeast Atlantic, from... more

Iceland Scallop – Northern Clam

Scallops aggregate in patch-like groups, and commercially fishable... more

Iceland Cyprine

This mussel (Lat Arctica islandica or Cyprina islandica) is the most common of... more

Herring

The herring's (Lat Clupea harengus linnaeus) habitat is in the North Atlantic,... more

Atlantic Halibut

The halibut's (Lat Hippoglossus hippoglossus) habitat on the ocean floor in the... more

Haddock

Haddock (offshore hake - Lat Melanogrammus aeglefinus) has its habitats in the... more

Greenland Halibut

The Greenland halibut's (Lat Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) habitat is in the... more

Gray Sole

The Flounder's (Lat Glyptocephalus cynoglossus) habitats are in the North... more

European Eel or Elver

The American eel (Lat Anguilla rostrata) and the European eel (Lat Anguilla... more

Picked dogfish or spurdog

In front of both dorsal fins are hollow, poisoned spikes The dogfish's (Lat:... more

Cod

The cod's (Lat: Gadus morhua) habitats are in the North Atlantic, from... more

Capelin

The capelin's (Lat: Mallotus villosus) habitat is in the cold seas of the North... more

Tindfjoll

The total area of this small glacier is about 19 km² It is located just north... more

Krafla Fires

The events that have taken place in the Krafla caldera and on the Krafla... more

Bridge Between Two Continents

According to the continental drift theory, the Eurasian and North American... more

Thingvellir Drift Zone

According to the continental drift theory, the Eurasian and North American... more

Plate Tectonics

Plate Tectonics are a theory of global tectonics (geological structural... more

Volcanism in Iceland

The processes by which molten rock material, or magma, rises from the interior... more

About Iceland

Where is Iceland The easternmost point of the country is Gerpir (13°30’V),... more

Deepest Lakes

Deepest lakes in Iceland (meters) Oskjuvatn: 220 Hvalvatn: 160 ... more

Average Volume of Rivers

Average volume of rivers (m3/sec): Olfusa / Hvita at town Selfoss: 423 ... more

Hofsjokull East Glacier

Glacier Hofsjokull East (1069m) is located east of Glacier Vatnajokull, between... more

Eruption in Eyjafjallajokull 2010

On March 20th 2010 (spring equinox), shortly before midnight, a half a... more

Vatnajokull National Park

Vatnajokull National Park is Europe's larges National Park after merging of... more

Icelandic Cattle

The Icelandic cattle they originated from cattle brought from Norway during the... more

The Icelandic Sheep

History and background The modern Icelandic Sheep is a direct descendant of... more

The Icelandic Horse

The Icelandic horses live to a ripe old age, commonly to 35-40 The oldest... more

The Icelandic Sheep Dog

The Icelandic Sheepdog is Iceland's only native dog The Nordic settlers, who... more

Domestic Animals in Iceland

Documented sources confirm that the settlers originally brought the... more

Blue Whiting

The blue whiting's (Lat: Micromesistius poutassou) habitat is in the... more

Blue Mussel

The blue mussel (Lat: Mytilus edulis) is common all around Iceland It is a... more

Blue Ling

The blue ling (Lat: Molva byrkelange) is mostly 80-130 centimetres long It is... more

Basking Shark

The basking shark (Lat: Cetorhinus maximus) is the second largest fish species... more

Angler Fish

The habitats of the angler fish (Lat: Lophius piscatorius) are in the North... more

Gigjokull Glacier

About Gigjokull As one of Eyjafjallajokull Glacier´s Outlets, Gigjokull was... more

Iceland – The Ice Ages

The Ice Ages are periods in the earth's history when a significant, extended... more

Krokslon Reservoir

About Krokslon Reservoir River Tungnaa was gradually eroding a chasm through... more

Skorradalsvatn Lake

About Skorradalsvatn Lake Lake Skorradalsvatn has an area of 14,7 km² It is... more

Graenalon Lagoon

About Graenalon Lagoon Glacial Lagoon Graenalon is a constantly changing body... more

Sultartangi Reservoir

About Sultartangi Reservoir Rivers Thjorsa and Tungnaa were dammed just east... more

Kvislaveita Lake

About Kvislaveita Lake The National Electricity Authority started work on the... more

Hop Lake

About Hop Lake Lake Hop is the country's fifth largest natural lake, situated... more

Myvatn Lake

Lake Myvatn has an area of 36,5 km² It is situated 277 m above sea level and... more

Lagarfljot Lake

About Lagarfljot Lake River Lagarfljot is the second largest one in the East,... more

Thingvallavatn Lake

About Thingvallavatn Lake Lake Thingvallavatn is the largest „natural”... more

Thorisvatn Lake

About Thorisvatn Lake This lake was the second largest natural lake of the... more

Kreppa River

About Kreppa River River Kreppa is a short tributary of the 206 kilometres... more

Eyjafjardara Estuary River

About Eyjafjardara Estuary River The River Eyjafjardara Estuary, which is... more

Sog River

About Sog River Iceland’s largest spring fed river and a famous salmon river... more

River Tungnaa

About River Tungnaa River Tungnaa discharges a larg area of the western part... more

Jokulsa a Fjollum

About Jokulsa a Fjollum This glacial river, a discharge of the icecap... more

Holsa River

About Holsa River This spring fed river was called Djupa (The Deep River) in... more

Hofsa Vopnafjordur

About Hofsa Vopnafjordur A large river in the Vopnafiord region, fished with 6... more

Vididalsa, Fitja

About Vididalsa This is one of the top rivers, producing a thousand salmon in... more

Laxa River

About Laxa River This is one of Iceland’s major salmon rivers and in many... more

Kudafljot River

About Kudafljot River River Kudafljot is the product of confluences of several... more

Hvita River

About Hvita River This is a glacial river and the main artery of the... more

Fnjoska River

About Fnjoska River This is rather a large run off and spring fed river, which... more

Blanda River

About Blanda River This is a large, partially a glacial river A dam linking to... more

Heradsvotn River

 About Heradsvotn River Heradsvotn runs through the wide Skagafjordur Valley... more

Skjalfandafljot

About Skjalfandafljot This large volume glacial rivers has some of Iceland’s... more

Tindfjallajokull Glacier

The total area of this small glacier is about 19 km² It is located just north... more

Drangajokull Glacier

This glacier is the northernmost of the country  Because of its retreat... more

Grimsey Island

About Grimsey Island Grimsey is the northernmost inhabited part of Iceland It... more

Heimaey Island

About Vestmannaeyjar The Westman Islands, "The Pearl in The Ocean", is an... more

Mt Kaldbakur

About Kaldbakur Mt Kaldbakur (998 m) is the highest mountain of the Westfjords... more

Mt Dyrfjoll

About Dyrfjoll Mt Dyrfjoll (1136 m) marks the northernmost boundaries of the... more

Mt Maelifellshnjukur

About Maelifellshnjukur Mt Maelifellshnjukur (1138 m) is located to the south... more

Snaekollur

About Snaekollur This vast and colourful rhyolite mountain massif (150 km²),... more

Mt Kerling

Mt Kerling is the highest mountain near inhabited areas in the northern part of... more

Mts Kverkfjoll

Kverkfjoll is a mountain massif underneath and on the northern edge of the... more

Geysir

This most famous and former largest spouting hot spring of the world probably... more

The Colors of Icelandic Geology

Metamorphosis in High Temperature Areas Yellow colours: Often pure sulphur... more

Geology in Highlands of Iceland

The Mountain Massif Dyngjufjoll in the southern Odadahraun lava area has an... more

Geology in South Iceland

The southern and Snaefellsnes volcanic areas are clear examples of the... more

Geology in East Iceland

Research boreholes confirmed dykes in excess of 50% of the structure at the... more

Geology in North Iceland

Hverfjall This prototype of a Tuff Ring was created during a 2-3 days’... more

Geology in West Iceland

Craters Grabrok, in the extremely beautiful area surrounding Bifrost and the... more

Geology in South West Iceland

The Reykjanes Zone is a so-called Rift Zone (thoelite) Earthquakes are frequent... more

Geology of Iceland

The islands of the Atlantic Ocean created by the volcanism of the Middle... more

Northern Lights

The northern lights (latin: aurora borealis) are a spectacular natural colour... more

Skalafellsjokull Glacier

Glacier Tours were founded in 1985 The road up there is only 16 km long, but... more

Snaefellsnes Volcanoes

Volcanic activity on the peninsula still exists in this Flank Zone extending... more

The Westman Islands

About The Westman Islands The Westman Islands’ volcanic system comprises... more

Namaskard hverir

Namaskard hverir This spectacular high temperature area (410 m above sea... more

Dimmuborgir

The Nature Reserve Dimmuborgir, „The Dark Castles”, are among the most... more

Hofsjokull Glacier

Glacier Hofsjokull East (1069m) is located east of Glacier Vatnajokull, between... more

Holuhraun

This lava field and its two crater rows were created by fissure eruptions One... more

Jokulsargljufur National Park

The Northern Part of National Park Vatnajokull This park was established in... more

Grimsvotn Central Volcano

Grimsvotn, under the centre of the Vatnajokull Ice Cap, is a large central... more

Eyjabakkajokull Glacier

The glacier snout Eyjabakkajokull is the easternmost of the other much larger,... more

Eiriksjokull Glacier

Glacier Eiriksjokull (1,675 m) has an area of about 22 km sq and rests on top... more

Dyngjuhals Ridge

The Dyngjuhals is a wide ridge east of Lakes Gaesavotn It is about 20 km wide... more

Katla

The central volcano Katla is hidden under the southeastern part of the ice cap... more

Krafla

The name of Mt Krafla was extended over the high temperature area after the... more

Laki, Lakagigar

The 25 km long crater row called Lakagigar was created during a relatively... more

Lambatungnajokull

About Lambatungnajokull This glacier snout flows down into the Skyndidalur... more

Langjokull Glacier

The Long Glacier (1355m) is the second largest in Iceland It has an area of... more

Myrdalsjokull

The Myrdalsjokull glacier (1480m) is the fourth largest glacier with an area of... more

Bruarjokull Glacier

This glacier tongue is the largest of the many such of the icecap Vatnajokull... more

Torfajokull glacier

The glacier Torfajokull peaks at 1,190 m above sea level and its total area is... more

Mt. Bardarbunga

Mt Bardarbunga is the second highest elevation of the country, just below 2000... more

Trolladyngja

Mt Trolladyngja (4,815 feet) is a vast shield volcano at the northern end of... more

Mt. Askja – Dyngjufjoll

The Odadahraun lava desert This is the vastest lava area of the country The... more

Tungnafellsjokull

Mt Tungnafell (1,392 m) is a convex and steep mountain in the northern slopes... more

Oraefajokull Glacier

Oraefajokull is the highest mountain of the country, 2,110 m, and stretches to... more

Vatnajokull Glacier – Europes Largest Icecap

Vatnajokull (2110m) was named after sub-glacial lakes in a very volcanically... more

Breidamerkurjokull Glacier

Glacier Breidamerkurjokull counts among the largest glacier tongues of the... more

Eyjafjallajokull Glacier

Eyjafjallajokull (Directly translated: "The Island Mountains’ Glacier") or... more

Mt. Hekla – Volcano

The most "renowned or infamous" volcano of Iceland, Hekla, is situated on a 25... more

Solheimajokull Glacier

The glacier snout Solheimajokull is the southwestern outlet of the... more

Skaftafell National Park

The Southern Part of National Park Vatnajokull The second national park,... more

Thingvellir National Park

The Parliamentary Plains are the most important historic site of the country... more

Deildartunguhver

About Deildartunguhver This is probably the most voluminous natural hot spring... more

Snaefellsjokull glacier

The Snaefell glacier (1446m) has an area of about 7 km² It covers a cone... more

Bulandshofdi

The headland Bulandshofdi falls steep into the sea to the east of the fishing... more

National Park Snaefellsjokull

The Snaefellsjokull National Park was officially established on the 28th of... more