Iceland is truly an island of extremes and contrasts,where large glaciers dwell in the vicinity of some of themost active volcanoes in the world, creating an unusual harmony of fire and ice.The most famous and activevolcano in Iceland is mountHekla, which has erupted 18 times since 1104, the last time in the year 2000.
There are over hundred volcanoes on Iceland’s central plateau, most of which have not erupted in the past thousand years. However, between 30 and 40 are still active, meaning that they have erupted within last few centuries. 18 volcanoes have erupted since the settlement of Iceland.
Surtsey is an volcanic island and is called a stratovolcano. It is made from many layers of ash, lava, and other particles. It is interesting thatit just popped out of the ocean in 1963.
In two years the eruptions stopped but near its shores a new island appeared – Sirtlingur.
Askja is a very complex volcano made up of three calderas. The volcano has mostly eruptedbasaltic material over its recent history. The calderas are formed by passive sinking of theland surface, much like we see in Hawai’i. However, at Askja, it appears that the calderasare formed more violently due to explosive eruptions out of the ring fractures bounding thecalderas. The most recent activity at Askja was in 1961. That caldera-forming eruption in1875 was large enough that ash and tephra fell as far away as Norway and Sweden.
Iceland is a geological "hot spot", causing the huge number of hot springs andspouting geysers around the country. Iceland is packed with warm springs, pools,fumaroles, mud pots, colourful soil and, of course, spouting geysers. The Geysirarea in Haukadalur valley is Icelands most famous geothermal area, with theworld famous Geysir and Strokkur springs spouting regularly. Historically, geothermal power has been limited to areas near tectonic plateboundaries. Iceland, which lies on the mid-Atlantic Ridge, was basically formedby the drifting apart of the American and Eurasian tectonic plates and thereforecreating the perfect settings for the usability of geothermal heat.
Solfatara – a jet of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide with an admixture of water vapors, carbon dioxide, and other gases. Solfataras areemitted from lava andother pyroclastic flowsand through vents and fissures in the wallsand bottoms of craters and on the slopes of volcanoes. Their temperature ranges from 100° to 300°C.
Fumarolas -emission of gases and vapours from avolcanic conduit or a lava flow
A geyser is a hot spring that periodically erupts,throwing water into the air. The word geyser comesfrom the Icelandic verb geysa, "to gush".
Iceland uses geothermalenergy for a diverse areaof services, includingelectricity production,spas, home heating, fishfarming, and industrialprocess heat. More than95% of Iceland’s urbanpopulation heat theirhomes and buildingswith geothermal energy.
It’s possible to swimin some rivers even inthe cold weather. Thewater temperature isabout 37 C.
Geothermal waters are being used as bathing areas.
Not only people use the Earth’s heat.Hundreds of gulls seat on the warm soil of the geothermal areas in the south part of island.
Godafoss waterfall at the river Skjyalfandaflet
Impressive waterfall Gullfossat the river Hvita in the south of the island
Selgafoss waterfall is one of the highest at the island.
The lake is situated in thecrater of the volcano Askja inthe north-east of the glacierVatnajökull. Its name simplymeans the lake of Askja. Itwas created by an enormousvolcanic eruption in 1875.On July 10, 1907, two Germanscientists, Walter von Knebeland Max Rudloff disappearedwhile exploring the lake in asmall boat.
Vatnajokull is the biggest glacier in Europe. It covers about 8% of the country and the average thickness is 400m.
Skaftafedl glacier in the south-west of Vatnajokull glacier
Nootka Lupin and Lyme grasses are seemed to be the only species that prevent the slope erosion.
Atlantic Puffin – is the symbol of Iceland. These birds havebright- coloured beaks and legs, very oftenthey are called “NorthParrots”. The AtlanticPuffin likes to eat fish, squid, and crustaceans.
Iceland is one of the main breeding grounds forwaterfowl in Europe. There are no fewer than 16 species of duck known to nestin Iceland, including two American species; Barrows Goldeneye and the Harlequin Duck.
The severe nature of theisland attracts by its beauty and extravagance. The tourists travel aroundIceland alone and in groups. .
One of the oldestchurches on the island (XVIII century).