Geography of Iceland
World Geography 102
December 6, 2010
Geography of Iceland
The country that I choose is Iceland. Iceland is very unique and interesting not only because of its clean air and amazing scenery but also its natural beauty and landscapes. Nature is a big force of Iceland but the volcano’s, waterfalls, and glaciers seem to attract most tourist. There landforms are probably the most unique. The Northern Lights is also something that people find very interesting because how it is created and the view you can see. It is something that everyone should see at some point in their life. The sources that I choose to use to research the Physical Geography, Economics, History, Cultural, and Political features of Iceland were mainly books including; Ring of Season: Iceland , It’s Culture and History; Island Guide to Iceland; and Landmark Visitor Guide: Iceland. The main site that was used from the internet was the CIA World Factbook. The geographical features of Iceland in this paper range from physical/environmental, historical, culture/demographic, political, and economics that help create this country. Iceland’s Physical/Environmental features are some of the most unique features of any country. According to Cathy Harlow Visitor Guide, Iceland is Europe’s Western most country, which is located in the North Atlantic just south of the Arctic Circle (p. 11). Iceland’s geographic coordinates are “65 00 N and 18 00 W” (CIA World Factbook). Its land occupies 103,000 square kilometers with its terrain and landforms bringing many tourists to this country every year. Volcanoes in Iceland are probably the biggest and most interesting land forms in this country. There are many different eruptions in volcanoes but according to Landmark Visitor Guide by Cathy Harlow, “the most common eruptions in Iceland are the fissure type, where lava and ash are ejected along a rift and form small craters around the eruption site” (p. 22). In Iceland, “volcanoes occur on average every three to five years. Iceland sits on both the North American and Eurasian plates” (Harlow p. 11). “The rocks are for the most part entirely volcanic and in places the mountains rise 2000m” (Mead p. 15). Iceland lies just south of the Arctic circle, because of its location in the ocean it barely ever experiences climate extreme like those of the other arctic and sub-arctic region. According to the Landmark Visitor Guide, the North and East of the island lie just in the rain shadow of the ice caps and have drier weather and extreme temperatures. On the other hand, the south and west get the bulk of the rain fall. Which only means bad weather in the south is good weather in the north and visa versa. According to Islands Guide of Iceland’s its “5,000 km of coastline, takes major advantage of it ports and brings in large amount of fish” (Mead p. 17). Iceland’s bodies of water include rivers, lakes, and Lagoons which are “all heated by geothermal activity. The most common of the lagoons is the “Blue Lagoon where the water is effluent from a power station” (Mead p. 69). There are many rivers in Iceland because of the heavy rainfall and glacial meltdown. Some of these rivers can be formed by subsidence, other fill glacier-eroded basins, still others are lava-dammed while there are few that are ice-dammed” (Harlow p. 49). There are two types of rivers in Iceland, which are “glacial and clear-water rivers. There are two kinds of clear-water rivers. “One drains the old basalt areas and has a variable discharge with maximum flow in late spring. The other kind drains regions covered with post-glacial lava and usually has small variations in discharge, which makes them ideally suited for hydroelectric power production” (Tomasson p. 33). “Since Iceland is isolated their flora and fauna tend to develop rather differently from the larger continental land masses. The mountains and meadows both are thick with wildflowers. Very few of Iceland’s...
References: CIA World Factbook. Iceland. Dec. 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-
Harlow, Cathy. (2006). Landmark Visitors Guide: Iceland. England: Landmark.
Lacy, Terry G. (1998). Ring of Season: Iceland- Its Culture and History. United States of
America. Michigan UP.
Mead, Rowland. (2007). Globetrotter Island Guide: Iceland. London: New Holland.
Sigurdsson, J. F. and Gudjonsson, G. H. (1996), Illicit drug use among Icelandic
prisoners prior to their imprisonment. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 6: 98–104.
Tomasson, Richard F. (1980). Iceland: The First New Society. Minneapolis: University
of Minnesota Press.
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