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Geological Activity of Iceland


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The erupting Great Geysir in Haukadalur valley, the oldest known geyser in the world.

A geologically young land, Iceland is located on both the Iceland hotspot and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs right through it. This combined location means that geologically the island is extremely active, having many volcanoes, notably Hekla, Eldgjá, Herðubreið and Eldfell. Iceland is one of two places on Earth where a mid-ocean ridge rises above sea level, making it an easily accessible site to study the geology of such a ridge[citation needed]. The volcanic eruption of Laki in 1783-1784 caused a famine that killed nearly a quarter of the island's population; the eruption caused dust clouds and haze to appear over most of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa for several months after the eruption.

There are also many geysers in Iceland, including Geysir, from which the English word is derived, as well as the famous Strokkur which erupts every 5–10 minutes. After a phase of inactivity, Geysir started erupting again after a series of earthquakes in the year 2000.

With this widespread availability of geothermal power, and because many rivers and waterfalls are harnessed for hydroelectricity, most residents have inexpensive hot water and home heat. The island itself is composed primarily of basalt, a low-silica lava associated with effusive volcanism like Hawaii. But Iceland has various kinds of volcanoes, many of which produce more evolved lavas such as rhyolite and andesite.

Iceland controls Surtsey, one of the youngest islands in the world. Named after Surtr, it rose above the ocean in a series of volcanic eruptions between 8 November, 1963 and 5 June, 1968. Only scientists researching the growth of new life are allowed to visit the island.

Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia

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