Iceland Geography

According to Allcitycodes, Iceland is located in Northern Europe, it is an island between the Greenland Sea and the north of the Atlantic Ocean. It has just 300,000 residents and enjoys one of the highest living standards in Europe. Its geography has not been an obstacle for its development, it could even be said that it has benefited it as many people look for it in its natural spaces. Iceland, whose name means “land of ice”, has glaciers, hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, ice fields, tundras, snowy peaks, huge lava deserts, waterfalls and craters.. Some of the largest colonies of birds in the world inhabit the cliffs that rise up on its coasts, in the lakes and swamps there are abundant aquatic birds.

Iceland, a Nordic island nation, occupies an area of 103,000 km2 in the North Atlantic Ocean. The island owes its existence to a large volcanic fissure in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates converge. Even today, the country grows about 5 cm a year, as it widens at the points where two tectonic plates meet.

Iceland is largely an arctic desert dotted with mountains, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, volcanoes, and waterfalls.

Most of the vegetation and agricultural areas are in the lowlands near the coast.

As can be seen on the physical map of Iceland, the country’s most characteristic features are glaciers, which cover more than 11,922 km2 or 11% of the country’s total area. 5% of the total area of the country. However, in recent decades they have notably declined and receded due to milder weather.

The largest of the glaciers, by far, is the Vatnajokull, in southeastern Iceland, with an area of 8,400 km2. The Vatnajokull glacier is the same size as all the glaciers on the European continent put together and reaches a thickness of 1 km. (1 km).

Iceland’s highest point is Hvannadalshnukur, a peak located on the rim of Öræfajökull volcano, which rises 2,110 m (6,922 ft). The location of this point has been marked on the map with a yellow vertical triangle.

And speaking of volcanoes, on March 21, 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in southern Iceland erupted for the first time since 1821, forcing 600 people from their homes. Other eruptions in April forced hundreds of people from their homes. And indeed, the resulting volcanic ash cloud caused major disruptions to air travel across Europe.

Due to its impressive geographical features such as mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, volcanoes, and pristine surroundings, Iceland is a great tourist destination for nature lovers.

Geographic characteristics


The climate of the Icelandic coast is classified as subpolar oceanic, that is, it has cool, short summers and mild winters, with temperatures that do not drop below -3 ° C. The warm North Atlantic current causes mean annual temperatures higher than those found at similar latitudes in other parts of the world. The island’s coasts remain ice-free during the winter, despite its proximity to the Arctic; These occur very rarely, the last one being recorded on the north coast in 1969.

There are climatic variations between one part of the island and another. In general, the south coast is warmer, wetter and windier than the north coast. The lowlands in the interior and in the north of the island are more arid. Snowfalls are more frequent in the north than the south. The inland highlands of Iceland are the coldest area on the entire island.

The highest recorded temperature in the country was 30.5 ° C in Teigarhorn, on the southeast coast, on June 22, 1939. On the other hand, the lowest was -38 ° C in Grímsstaðir and Möðrudalur, in the northeast, on January 22, 1918. In Reykjavik, the extreme temperatures recorded reached 26.2 ° C, on July 30, 2008, and -24.5 ° C, on January 21, 1918.

Flora and fauna

Few plants and animals have migrated to the island or evolved locally since the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. Its fauna includes around 1,300 known species of insects, which is quite a low number compared to other countries (more than a million species have been discovered worldwide). When the first humans arrived on their lands, the only existing mammal was the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), which arrived on the island at the end of the ice age, walking on the frozen sea. There are no native reptiles or amphibians on the island, but there are several species of marine mammals.

Phytogeographically, Iceland belongs to the Arctic province of the Circumboreal Region within the Holartic Kingdom. About three-quarters of the island is arid; plant life consists mainly of meadows that are regularly used for livestock. The most numerous native tree is the northern birch (Betula pubescens), which previously formed a large forest that extended over much of Iceland, together with the aspen (Populus tremula), the capudre (Sorbus aucuparia), the juniper ( Juniperus communis) and other smaller trees.

Permanent human settlements have considerably disturbed the isolated ecosystem of volcanic soils and with a very limited diversity of species. For centuries, the forests were heavily exploited for firewood and wood. Deforestation caused a critical loss of vegetation cover due to erosion, reducing the soil’s ability to support new life forms. Today, there are only a few small birch trees among its 59 isolated nature reserves. The planting of new forests has increased the number of trees, but it does not compare with the original forests. Some of the planted forests include new foreign species.

Icelandic animals include sheep (Ovis aries), cattle (Bos taurus), chickens (Gallus gallus), goats (Capra), the Icelandic pony (Equus ferus caballus), and the Icelandic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). Many varieties of fish live in the ocean waters surrounding Iceland and the fishing industry is a major contributor to the economy, accounting for more than half of the country’s total exports. Wild mammals include the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus), mink (Neovison vison), mice (Apodemus sylvaticus), rats (Rattus rattus), rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) occasionally visit the island, traveling with some ice from Greenland. In June 2008, two polar bears were hunted in the same month. Birds, especially seabirds, They are a very important part of Icelandic animal life. Commercial whaling is practiced intermittently in conjunction with scientific whaling.

Iceland Geography