Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Iceland~ "Land of Extremes (Part 2)


Uploaded on Oct 16, 2011
 
This is Part 2 of Iceland : Land of Extremes. It features sites like Gullfoss, Geysir, Blue Lagoon, Myvatn, Dettifoss, Dynjandi, Surtshellir (lava tube cave), Jokulsarlon (iceberg lagoon), a Viking Village and many others. Iceland is a fantastic vacation destination for anyone seeking adventure and breathtaking scenery.

CONT: From  SCUBA Diving in Iceland~

Kingdom of Iceland 1918–1944

The Danish-Icelandic Act of Union, an agreement with Denmark signed on 1 December 1918 and valid for 25 years, recognized Iceland as a fully sovereign state in a personal union with Denmark.

The Government of Iceland established an embassy in Copenhagen and requested that Denmark should handle Icelandic foreign policy; Danish embassies around the world would display two coats of arms and two flags: those of the Kingdom of Denmark and those of the Kingdom of Iceland.

During World War II, Iceland joined Denmark in asserting neutrality. After the German occupation of Denmark on 9 April 1940, the Althing replaced the King with a regent and declared that the Icelandic government should assume the control of foreign affairs and other matters previously handled by Denmark.

A month later, British armed forces invaded and occupied the country, violating Icelandic neutrality. In 1941, the occupation of Iceland was taken over by the United States so that Britain could use its troops elsewhere, an arrangement reluctantly agreed to by the Icelandic authorities.

Independent republic 1944–present


British and Icelandic vessels collide in the Atlantic Ocean during the Cod Wars
On 31 December 1943, the Danish-Icelandic Act of Union expired after 25 years. Beginning on 20 May 1944, Icelanders voted in a four-day plebiscite on whether to terminate the personal union with Denmark, abolish the monarchy, and establish a republic. The vote was 97% in favor of ending the union and 95% in favor of the new republican constitution.[26]

 Iceland formally became a republic on 17 June 1944, with Sveinn Björnsson as its first president.
In 1946, the Allied occupation force left Iceland, which formally became a member of NATO on 30 March 1949, amid domestic controversy and riots. On 5 May 1951, a defense agreement was signed with the United States. American troops returned to Iceland, as the Iceland Defence Force, and remained throughout the Cold War; the US withdrew the last of its forces on 30 September 2006.

Iceland had prospered during the war, and the immediate post-war period was followed by substantial economic growth, driven by industrialization of the fishing industry and the Marshall Plan programme, through which Icelanders received by far the most aid per capita of any European country (at USD 209, with the war-ravaged Netherlands a distant second at USD 109).[27][28]

The 1970s were marked by the Cod Wars — several disputes with the United Kingdom over Iceland's extension of its fishing limits. The economy was greatly diversified and liberalised when Iceland joined the European Economic Area in 1994.

Iceland hosted a summit in Reykjavik in 1986 between United States President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, during which they took significant steps toward nuclear disarmament. Only a few years later, Iceland would become the first country to recognize the independence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as they broke away from the USSR.

Throughout the 1990s, the country expanded its international role and developed a foreign policy that was oriented toward humanitarian and peacekeeping causes. To that end, Iceland provided aid and expertise to various NATO-led interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq.[29]

Rise and fall of Iceland as a financial center

In the years 2003–2007, following the privatization of the banking sector under the government of Davíð Oddsson, Iceland moved from being a nation best known for its fishing industry toward having an economy based on financial services and investment banking.[30]

It was quickly becoming one of the most prosperous countries in the world before getting hit hard by a major financial crisis.[30] The crisis resulted in the greatest migration from Iceland since 1887, with a net emigration of 5,000 people in 2009.[31]

Iceland's economy has since stabilized under the government of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, and grew by 1.6% in 2012

Geography


General topographic map
Iceland is located at the juncture of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. The main island is entirely south of the Arctic Circle, which passes through the small Icelandic island of Grímsey off the main island's northern coast.

The country lies between latitudes 63° and 67° N, and longitudes 25° and 13° W.

Although Iceland is closest to Greenland (North America), it is closer to continental Europe than to mainland North America; thus, the island is generally included in Europe for historical, political, cultural, and practical reasons.

Geologically the island includes parts of both continental plates. The closest body of land is Greenland (290 km (180 mi)). The closest bodies of land in Europe are the Faroe Islands (420 km (260 mi)); Jan Mayen Island (570 km (350 mi)); Shetland and the Outer Hebrides, both about 740 km (460 mi); and the Scottish mainland and Orkney, both about 750 km (470 mi). The mainland of Norway is about 970 km (600 mi) away.

Iceland is the world's 18th largest island, and Europe's second largest island after Great Britain. The main island is 101,826 km2 (39,315 sq mi), but the entire country is 103,000 km2 (39,768.5 sq mi) in size, of which 62.7% is tundra.

There are thirty minor islands in Iceland, including the lightly populated Grímsey and the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. Lakes and glaciers cover 14.3% of its surface; only 23% is vegetated.[33]

The largest lakes are Þórisvatn (Reservoir): 83–88 km2 (32.0–34.0 sq mi) and Þingvallavatn: 82 km2 (31.7 sq mi); other important lakes include Lagarfljót and Mývatn. Jökulsárlón is the deepest lake, at 248 m (814 ft).[34]

Geologically, Iceland is part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a ridge along which the oceanic crust spreads and forms new oceanic crust. This part of the mid-ocean ridge is located above a mantle plume, causing Iceland to be subaerial (above the surface of the sea). The ridge marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North American Plates, and Iceland was created by rifting and accretion through volcanism along the ridge.[35]

Many fjords punctuate Iceland's 4,970 km long coastline, which is also where most settlements are situated.

The island's interior, the Highlands of Iceland, is a cold and uninhabitable combination of sand, mountains and lava fields. The major towns are the capital city of Reykjavik, along with its outlying towns of Kópavogur, Hafnarfjörður and Garðabær, nearby Reykjanesbær where the international airport is located, and the town of Akureyri in northern Iceland.

The island of Grímsey on the Arctic Circle contains the northernmost habitation of Iceland.[5] Iceland has three national parks: Vatnajökull National Park, Snæfellsjökull National Park, and Þingvellir National Park.[36] The country is considered a "strong performer" in environmental protection, having been ranked 13th in Yale University's Environmental Performance Index of 2012.[37]

Geology


The erupting Geysir in Haukadalur valley, the oldest known geyser in the world
A geologically young land, Iceland is located on both the Iceland hotspot and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs right through it. This location means that the island is highly geologically active with many volcanoes, notably Hekla, Eldgjá, Herðubreið and Eldfell.[38]

The volcanic eruption of Laki in 1783–1784 caused a famine that killed nearly a quarter of the island's population;[39] the eruption caused dust clouds and haze to appear over most of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa for several months afterward.[40]

Iceland has many geysers, including Geysir, from which the English word is derived, and the famous Strokkur, which erupts every 5–10 minutes. After a phase of inactivity, Geysir started erupting again after a series of earthquakes in 2000.

Geysir has since then grown quieter and does not erupt often.

With the widespread availability of geothermal power, and the harnessing of many rivers and waterfalls for hydroelectricity, most residents have access to inexpensive hot water, heating and electricity. The island itself is composed primarily of basalt, a low-silica lava associated with effusive volcanism as has occurred also in Hawaii. Iceland, however, has a variety of volcanic types (composite and fissure), many producing more evolved lavas such as rhyolite and andesite. Iceland has hundreds of volcanoes within approx. 30 volcanic systems active.[41]

Surtsey, one of the youngest islands in the world, is part of Iceland. Named after Surtr, it rose above the ocean in a series of volcanic eruptions between 8 November 1963 and 5 June 1968.[5] Only scientists researching the growth of new life are allowed to visit the island.[42]

On 21 March 2010, a volcano in Eyjafjallajökull in the south of Iceland erupted for the first time since 1821, forcing 600 people to flee their homes.[43] Further eruptions on 14 April forced hundreds of people to abandon their homes.[44] The resultant cloud of volcanic ash brought major disruption to air travel across Europe.[45]

Another large eruption occurred on 21 May 2011. This time it was the Grímsvötn volcano, located under the thick ice of Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Grímsvötn is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes and this eruption was much more powerful than the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull activity. The eruption hurled ash and lava 20 km (12.43 mi) up into the atmosphere, creating a large cloud that for a while was thought to pose a danger to jet aircraft over a wide area of northern Europe.

Source: Wikipedia Again there is just to much information to post it all here. Check It Out! It is very interesting It is a shame I didn't make the time to see more of It when I had the chance.

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Thanks for Wwatching.
Donnie/ Sinbad the Sailor Man