The "Long Sea"
The "Long Sea"

Geography Taster


Through time quite a few people have asked me about the geography of Iceland. Obviously I am by no means a geographer - let alone a geologist. So what I have done is merely to describe the phenomena each of us can observe.

Particularly in Southwestern Iceland you might see that nearly all rivers flow into the same direction and also mountains and valleys are aligned strangely parallel to one another.

The first picture shows a lake on the highlands with the name "Long Sea". This becomes even more apparent when we zoom out a bit.

earth postcard 1492932487

This phenomenon can be observed across the entire southwestern part of the Island. This is a picture of the Southwestern Peninsula, again showing the same alignment pattern.

earth postcard 1492932608

This is not unique for Iceland, however. Probably most mountain ridges show an alignment, particularly when seen from a high distance. According to the theory, mountains are created through the pressure of gigantic plates (tectonic plates) pushing one another, but the phenomenon we see here in Iceland is because of a gap that is opening between plates. Ever so slowly the plates are moving apart from one another and then, with an amazing regularity, volcanic eruptions "fill the gap" so to speak.

earth postcard 1492932767

Through the magic of Google Earth you can see the so-called Mid-Atlantic ridge through the middle of the ocean. Whereas it is generally deep in the ocean, in Iceland it actually surfaces with the result of land being created. Due to the movement, Iceland grows on a relatively steady pace, but it will take still some years until Iceland will have the size and status of a continent, however :-)


Since Iceland is based on the margins of two tectonic plates it belongs, geographically speaking, to two continents, America and Europe. This is being celebrated by a little touristic feature close to our home, the Bridge Between Continents.


Last modified onMonday, 24 April 2017 11:00
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