Plate Tectonic History | Geothermal Activity | Glaciers | Deforestation
Carbon Capture and Storage | Weathering | Tourism | Environmental History

        Iceland’s geologic setting and highly northern location cause its landscape to exhibit unique geomorphology, glaciology, biology, and economic opportunity. The island was formed by a mantle plume below the mid-Atlantic rift zone, creating volcanic rock that has high weathering rates and allows for the storage of captured carbon. The hot spot and spreading center provide the geothermal activity necessary for creating hydrothermal features, producing geothermal energy, and attracting tourists. Its sub-Arctic latitude allows snow to persist from year to year and form glaciers. However, this high latitude also causes the ecosystem to be fragile; thus, the deforestation resulting from settlement of Iceland over a thousand years ago has never been rectified. Although human activity has changed its landscape, Iceland’s unique setting provides an interesting case study for environmental geologists interested in the interactions between geologic, hydrologic, glacial, biological, and human activity.

Image of Iceland

An Overview of Iceland by: Heidi Ahn, Carter Boyd, Riley Collins, Ursula Jongebloed, Matthew Magann, Cara Piske, Emma Rieb, and Forrest Town