Geography of Iceland

From Academic Kids

A true colour image of Iceland captured by NASA's Aqua satellite on , .
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A true colour image of Iceland captured by NASA's Aqua satellite on January 28, 2004.
  map of Iceland
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CIA World Factbook map of Iceland
Missing image
Iceland_Mid-Atlantic_Ridge_Fig16.gif
Missing image
Ridge_between_tectonic_plates_of_Eurasia_and_North_America.jpg
The ridge between the tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America

Iceland is a large island with extensive volcanic and geothermal activity located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the North Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland immediately south of the Arctic Circle. It lies about 4,200 kilometers (2,600 mi.) from New York and 830 kilometers (520 mi.) from Scotland. The rift associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which marks the division between the European and North American plates runs across Iceland from the southwest to the northeast. This geographic feature is prominent at the Žingvellir National Park where the promontory creates an extraordinary natural amphitheater. Just over a thousand years ago Iceland's first parliament (Althing) was convened there.

About half of Iceland's land area, which is of recent volcanic origin, consists of a mountainous lava desert (highest elevation 2,119 m (6,970 ft) above sea level), and other wasteland. Eleven percent is covered by three large glaciers:

and several smaller ones:

Twenty percent of the land is used for grazing, and only 1% is cultivated. An ambitious reforestation program is under way. The inhabited areas are on the coast, particularly in the southwest, whereas the central highlands are totally uninhabited.

Because of the Gulf Stream's moderating influence, the climate is characterized by damp, cool summers and relatively mild but windy winters. In Reykjavķk, the average temperature is 11°C (52°F) in July and -1°C (30°F) in January.

Statistics

Location
Northern Europe (mostly for cultural and historical reasons it is not considered to be a part of the Americas), island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the United Kingdom.
Geographic coordinates
  • Template:Coor dm
  • North: Rifstangi, 66°32′,3 N
  • South: Kötlutangi, 63°23′,6 N
  • West: Bjargtangar, 24°32′,1 W
  • East: Gerpir, 13°29′,6 W
Map references
Arctic Region
Area
  • Total: 103,125 km²
  • Land: 100,329 km²
  • Water: 2,796 km²
Area--comparative
Slightly smaller than Kentucky; about half the size of Great Britain
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
4,988 km
Maritime claims
  • Continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to the edge of the continental margin
  • Exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles
  • Territorial sea: 12 nautical miles
Climate
Temperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; cool summers, damp in the South and West
Terrain
Mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords
Elevation extremes
Natural resources
Fish, hydropower, geothermal power.
Land use
  • Arable land: 0%
  • Permanent crops: 0%
  • Permanent pastures: 23%
  • Forests and woodland: 1%
  • Other: 76% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land
NA km²
Natural hazards
Earthquakes and volcanic activity; avalanches
Environment--current issues
Eater pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
Environment--international agreements
Geography--note
Strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe

See also

Weblinks

es:Geografķa de Islandia fr:Géographie de l'Islande is:Landafręši Ķslands pl:Geografia Islandii pt:Geografia da Islāndia

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