Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird


  • Eggert Larusson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_55


Situated in the North Atlantic Ocean between 63° 30' N and the Arctic Circle (66° 30' N), Iceland is a volcanic island with an area of 103,100 sq km. It is the outcome of Tertiary and Quaternary extrusions and intrusions of volcanic rocks (lavas, tuffs, pyroclastic sediment) from the mid-Atlantic Ridge, a zone of crustal plate divergence. It has been glaciated, and there are five residual ice areas. Glacial drift deposits are found widely, particularly bordering the residual glaciers, where terminal moraines in­­dicate recession of ice margins in recent decades.

Much of the coastline is irregular, with fiords (known in Iceland as fjördur) between mountain ranges, but on the southern coast between the Olfusa estuary and Djupivogur, large volumes of sand and gravel deposited by powerful streams fed by melting glaciers have formed a wide lowland (sandur), with a smooth coastline of wide bays and broad lobate promontories ( Fig. 6.4.1). The lowland is backed by cliffs and...


Coastal Plain Sandy Beach Tidal Inlet Coastal Lowland Barrier Beach 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eggert Larusson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EducationReykjavikIceland