Home Visit to Iceland

Iceland - some facts

island_mapThe location of Iceland is 13’25° west of Greenwich and 63’66° north of Equator. We go by the Greenwich time zone. Iceland is on two boundaries, the American plate and the Eurasian plate. Iceland is around 103.000 square kilometers on size.

boundariesIceland was created by volcano eruptions on the mid-Atlantic ridge. The oldest parts of the country are about 16 million years old. Iceland is placed on two boundaries; the American plate and Eurasian plate, they separate around 2 cm every year. The capital of Iceland, Reykjavík, is placed on the American plate, and the town Höfn is on the Eurasian plate, and because of the seperation they move from each other. In relations with the country moving apart comes a lot of earthquakes and volcanoes. Under the northwestern part of the glacier Vatnajökull is a hot spot, which has a huge influence on the volcano activity.
hotspotThe hot spot is located underneath the northwestern part of glacier Vatnajökull. The hot spot is like a bottle full of magma. The hot spot has a huge influence on the volcano activity. On the picture you can she the hot spot marked with a red dot, but the blue line is the gap trough Iceland.  

eyjafjallajokullIn Iceland there are about 130 volcanoes, of them only 33 are active. Hekla is the most famous one was considered the gates to hell. Hekla has erupted 20 times since the settlement of Iceland, last time in the year 2000. Hekla is 1491 meter high from see. The most active one is Grímsvötn, during the 20-21st. century it has erupted 12 times. The last time was in May 2011 and we could see the ash cloud from our town. People belive that it has erupted over 100 time since settlement. The place where the volcano is, is about 100 km long and 15 km wide.

Lately the volcano Katla in the south of Iceland has been very active, and some say that it is going to erupt anytime soon. Katla erupts on average every 40 to 80 years, the last eruption was in the year 1918, which means that Katla hasn’t erupt in 93 years, so maybe her time is now. Katla is placed under a the glacier Mýrdalsjökull and when a volcane exists under a glacier the eruption usually causes ash and even ash flow. An ash cloud can affect air traffic in big parts of Europe, like some of you maybe remember in the year 2010, when Eyjafjallajökull erupted.

In Iceland we have a lot of water, we have a lot of clean fresh water, we can drink the water from the sink and also when we are hiking we can just lie down and drink from a brook. Our largest lake is Þingvallavatn which is 84 square kilometers. Our deepest lake is the Glacier Lagoon, which is not so far from Höfn. The depth is about 250 meters. Our longest river is Þjórsá, which is about 230 kilometers long. The biggest waterfall is Glymur, which is 109 meters high.

vatnajokullIn Iceland we have got many glaciers. Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe, and covers about 8100 square kilometers. In the glacier Vatnajökull is Icelands highest mountain, named Hvannadalshnjúkur, it is 2110 meter high. That last years more and more people seek out going to the glaciers for their hobbies, variant trips for tourists are offered at most of the largest glaciers in Iceland. The glacier Vatnajökull is near Höfn, it is even possible to see the glacier and it outlets from our school.  

Geothermal energy in Iceland is manly rain water that gets in touch with hot bedrock. The connection with the Volcano eruption is not as much everywhere, but mostly near the plate boundaries through Iceland.

geysirThe Icelanders are first in line in the world of using all this geothermal energy.  It is used to heat up our houses and swimming pools and produce electricity. One of the most famous hot spring is Geysir which used to erupt water around 60-80 meter up in the air, but it has not erupted since 2009. On the Geysir area are some other smaller Geysirs people go to see.

Written  by Sólveig


Leaders in Iceland
The most notable leaders in Iceland are the Icelandic President, the Icelandic Prime minister and the Icelandic state government.

Icelands fourth president was a woman named Vigdís Finnbogadóttir
The fifth president of Iceland’s name is Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, he was first voted for president in the year of 1996 and then took over the office 1st of August the same year. He has been the president of Iceland ever since then because he has been reelected three times.

Vigdís Finnbogardóttir was the fourth president of Iceland and is the only woman who has served the office of the president. She is an honorary doctor and is an honorary professor of many universities and institution across the world.

The Icelandic state government has ten ministers and there are ten ministries. The Icelandic Prime minister name Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. She is the first woman in Iceland to be a prime minister. Jóhanna is also the first officially gay person in the world to be a prime minister.

Two people in Iceland can replace the president if he is absent these parties are the prime minister and the head of the Supreme Court.

The Icelandic legislative assembly is called Alþingi in Icelandic. The Icelandic Alþingi is considered the oldest law assembly in the world. It has been working with breaks since 930 and was founded at Þingvellir, which is a historic valley in the south-west of Iceland.

Icelandic families
What marked the Icelandic families in the old days was that the families were large and many generations lived together. People had most often seven or more children and lived with their extended families. Today people live in smaller units, have fewer children and live further away from their families.

The age composition in Iceland is a lot more different from the other countries in the OECD. The OECD is an international organization helping governments tackle the economic. In Iceland the age composition in divided into three groups, they are: School age (15 years old and younger): 18% in the OECD-countries but 23% in Iceland.
Working age (16- 64 years old): 67% in the OECD-countries but 65% in Iceland.
Retired from work (65 years and older) 15% in the OECD-countries but 12% in Iceland.

Life expectancy
The life expectancy in Iceland is rather high compared to other countries in Europe. Iceland is in the fifth highest place among the OECD-countries.  Life expectancy in Iceland is on an average 81,2  years according to a research that Health at a Glance did  in the year 2009. It also contains that the life expectancy for Icelandic females is on   average 82,9 years but the average life expectancy for males is about 79,4 years. The difference between men and women is 5,6 years.

                                                                                                                                       Written by Aleksandra and Lukka.