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Iceland Geography Profile 2017

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LocationNorthern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of the United Kingdom
Geographic coordinates65 00 N, 18 00 W
Map referencesArctic Region
Areatotal: 103,000 sq km
land: 100,250 sq km
water: 2,750 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than Pennsylvania; about the same size as Kentucky
Land boundaries0 km
Coastline4,970 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climatetemperate; moderated by North Atlantic Current; mild, windy winters; damp, cool summers
Terrainmostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 557 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Hvannadalshnukur 2,110 m (at Vatnajokull Glacier)
Natural resourcesfish, hydropower, geothermal power, diatomite
Land useagricultural land: 18.7%
arable land 1.2%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 17.5%
forest: 0.3%
other: 81% (2011 est.)
Irrigated landNA
Population distributionIceland is almost entirely urban with half of the population located in and around the capital of Reykjavik; smaller agglomerations are primarily found along the coast in the north and west
Natural hazardsearthquakes and volcanic activity
volcanism: Iceland, situated on top of a hotspot, experiences severe volcanic activity; Eyjafjallajokull (elev. 1,666 m) erupted in 2010, sending ash high into the atmosphere and seriously disrupting European air traffic; scientists continue to monitor nearby Katla (elev. 1,512 m), which has a high probability of eruption in the very near future, potentially disrupting air traffic; Grimsvoetn and Hekla are Iceland's most active volcanoes; other historically active volcanoes include Askja, Bardarbunga, Brennisteinsfjoll, Esjufjoll, Hengill, Krafla, Krisuvik, Kverkfjoll, Oraefajokull, Reykjanes, Torfajokull, and Vestmannaeyjar
Environment - current issueswater pollution from fertilizer runoff; inadequate wastewater treatment
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Transboundary Air Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - notestrategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; Reykjavik is the northernmost national capital in the world; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017