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 Geology of Iceland

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kosovohp
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Join date : 2010-09-28

PostSubject: Geology of Iceland   Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:31 pm

A geologically young land, Iceland is located on both the Iceland hotspot and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs right through it. This location means that the island is highly geologically active with many volcanoes, notably Hekla, Eldgjá, Herðubreið and Eldfell. Volcanic eruptions are experienced somewhere in Iceland on an average of once every five years.[32] The volcanic eruption of Laki in 1783–1784 caused a famine that killed nearly a quarter of the island's population;[33] the eruption caused dust clouds and haze to appear over most of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa for several months afterward.[34]
Dettifoss, located in northeast Iceland. It is the largest waterfall in Europe in terms of volume discharge, with an average water flow of 200 m3/second.

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 2000.

With the widespread availability of geothermal power, and the harnessing of many rivers and waterfalls 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. Iceland, however, has a variety of volcanic types[clarification needed], many producing more evolved lavas such as rhyolite and andesite.[35]

Surtsey, one of the youngest islands in the world, is part of Iceland. Named after Surtr, it rose above the ocean in a series of volcanic eruptions between 8 November 1963 and 5 June 1968.[30] Only scientists researching the growth of new life are allowed to visit the island.[36]

On 21 March 2010, a volcano in Eyjafjallajökull in the south of Iceland erupted for the first time since 1821, forcing 600 people to flee their homes.[37] Further eruptions on 14 April forced hundreds of people to abandon their homes.[38] The resultant cloud of volcanic ash brought major disruption to air travel across Europe.[39

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