Iceland is one of the most volcanically energetic places in the world and volcanic activity has shaped this island nation.

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Many world visit Iceland to check out volcanoes, specifically after the an overwhelming to express Eyjafjallajökull got the world"s fist in 2010 through spewing ash into the atmosphere — and bringing europe air travel to a halt.

Iceland is among the most volcanically energetic places in the world, with roughly one eruption every five years, not including submarine eruptions.

Volcanic task is a reality of life in Iceland, where civilization have learned to live through both the drawbacks, and considerable advantages, such together geothermal energy and also dramatic natural beauty.

So why walk Iceland have actually so numerous volcanoes?

The price lies beneath the surface. Iceland is situated on the 40,000-kilometre-long, mostly underwater Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This ridge is the meeting allude of the Eurasian and also North American tectonic plates. As the two tectonic plates move apart, magma native the earth"s mantle rises come the surface. Even today, the country is cultivation by around 2.5 centimeter per year, as it splits wider at the points wherein the 2 tectonic bowl meet.

Iceland is located on a hot spot or mantle plume, whereby magma is specifically close come the surface, which defines why land developed in this point out in the center of the ocean, and not somewhere else along the tectonic ridge.

Since the center Ages, a third of all lava that has actually covered the earth"s surface has erupted in Iceland. 

A floor of basalt

Iceland"s whole surface is do of volcanic rock, most of that basalt — the rock that creates when lava cools. Iceland"s towering cliffs and also jagged islands and reefs room all do of basalt. As soon as basalt cools in specific ways, it forms the hexagonal rock columns that you can see ~ above the South coastline of Iceland and also in various other places.

Types the volcano

Of the around 130 volcanoes in Iceland, the many common kind is the stratovolcano — the classic cone-shaped optimal with explosive eruptions that form a crater in the very top (such as Hekla and also Katla, ~ above the south Coast). There are also a few dormant shield volcanoes — through low-profile, wide-spreading lava flows.

Eruptions from fissure vents — lengthy cracks in the earth"s late — are also common in Iceland.

Eruptions and earthquakes

Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes follow every other. Components of Iceland are generally shaken by earth tremors. Catastrophic earthquakes happen at longer intervals 보다 the volcano eruptions. Some of the worst earthquakes devastated huge areas of southern Iceland in 1784 and also 1896.

There space over a hundreds volcanoes on the central plateau which have not erupted in the past thousand years and between 30 and also 40 that room active, an interpretation that they have erupted in ~ the last couple of centuries.

The most famed and energetic volcano in Iceland is mount Hekla, which has actually erupted 18 times because 1104, the critical time in 2000. A typical submarine eruption arisen on the Reykjanes Ridge in 1963, resulting in a brand-new island, Surtsey, i beg your pardon forms part of the exact same archipelago as Heimaey. It emerged from a depth of 130 m during an eruption i m sorry lasted until 1967. In ~ its largest, this brand-new island had actually an area of 2.8 km², yet has now been reduced by wave activity to 1.5 km².

Throughout Iceland"s history, volcanoes have actually meant disaster. The biggest recorded lava flow in world history occurred below in the summer of 1783, once 25km of craters poured the end 14 cubic km of lava. So lot ash to be released that the sun was obscured for a time, and also hundreds of thousands of sheep and also cattle perished from the poison gases.

The following famine brought about the death of 20% that the population, or around 10,000 people. The lava-field produced by the eruption extended 580 km², through a full volume that 12 km³.

During the summer the 1783, a bluish fog from the eruption spanned Europe and also Western Asia, causing difficulties in agriculture there. This was among the factors for the 1789 revolt in France.

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The exact same geological task that creates the volcanoes gives an unlimited supply of geothermal energy. Over 90% of real estate in Iceland is cook by natural geothermal heat.

Ready because that a quiz? shot the "Iceland"s Volcanoes" interactive activity.


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>" title="Volcanic task has shaped the spectacular see of Iceland. Image: Pixabay.">
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Volcanic activity has shame the spectacular see of Iceland. This is the Kirkjufell waterfalls. Pixabay.

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>" title="The eruption at Eyjafjallajökull April 17, 2010 caused significant travel interruptions with the cancellation of many flights across Europe. Image: Árni Friðriksson.">
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The eruption at Eyjafjallajökull April 17, 2010 caused major travel disturbances with the cancellation of numerous flights across Europe. Image: Wikimedia, Árni Friðriksson.

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>" title="Since the center Ages, a 3rd of every lava that has actually covered the earth's surface has erupted in Iceland. Image: peterhartree.">
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Since the center Ages, a third of all lava that has covered the earth"s surface has erupted in Iceland. Image: peterhartree

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>" title="Geothermal task is usual in Iceland and used to warmth 90 percent that homes. Image: Hans Braxmeier, Pixabay.">
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Geothermal activity is typical in Iceland and used to warm 90 percent that homes. Image: Hans Braxmeier, Pixabay.