Iceland lies on the submarine mid-Atlantic ridge, a little south of the Arctic Circle on the border between the Atlantic and the European Arctic Ocean; it extends around 500 km from west to east, around 300 km from north to south, and the coast is 4,970 km long. The character of the landscape is that of a polar cold desert in the inner highlands, and that of the sub-polar meadowland in the lowlands on the edge. Volcanoes, geysers, canyons, ditches and crevices, snow and ice, abundance of water, soil erosion and, in the peripheral zones, steep coasts and green meadows characterize the landscape.
Geologically, Iceland consists of tertiary and younger basalt layers, which are crossed by a 100-200 km wide young volcanic zone. Bound to fracture tectonics, Pleistocene basalts, rhyolites and hyaloclastites predominate here. There are also post-glacial (Holocene) lavas, tuffs and almost all volcanic and post-volcanic phenomena (volcanoes, solfataras, hot springs, geysers).
Iceland is one of the youngest land masses on earth. There are about 30 active volcanoes, 14 of which have erupted since the time of the land occupation. Iceland’s main artery, the ring road, runs through vast expanses of lava. They take up about 12% of the country’s area and are overgrown according to their age.
The drifting apart of the plates (2.5 cm / year) creates seismic tensions that discharge in an average of 500 earthquakes per week, most of which are imperceptible to humans. If there is a risk of volcanic eruptions, towns are evacuated and roads are closed as a precaution. Major eruptions occur every four years: Hekla (2000), Vatnajökull (2004 and 2011), Eyjafjallajökull (2010), Grímsvötn (2011) and Bárðarbunga (2014/2015).
Above the low-lying coastal regions, especially in the south and southwest, an uninhabited plateau rises from 300–800 m above sea level, over which the rivers plunge in huge waterfalls (Dettifoss, Gullfoss).
About 75% of the country’s area is higher than 200 m above sea level. d. The plateaus are dominated by gravel and stone deserts. Above it tower numerous mountain ranges and individual mountains (including the subglacial volcanic table mountains) and, as the remains of the inland ice that covered all of Iceland in the Pleistocene, several large ice caps: Vatnajökull (8 100 km 2) with the highest elevation in Iceland, the Hvannadalshnúkur (2 119 m above sea level) Sea level), Langjökull (953 km 2) and Hofsjökull (925 km 2) are the largest glaciers in Europe. Its ice covers about 12% of the country’s area (12,300 km 2). On some ice caps, huge floods of meltwater occur from time to time due to subglacial eruptions. The intensive erosion of the glaciers manifests itself in the south in the extensive embankment plains, the sand areas. The coast is in the south a compensatory coast with individual spits, in the west, north and east with fjords and fjords. While the fjords inwards end in a steep trough, the fjärde, rupture areas with subsequent glacier erosion, go steplessly into the interior with wide plains and valleys.
Iceland has numerous larger rivers, mostly fed by glacial water. The largest are Thjórsá (230 km, catchment area 7 530 km 2) and Jökulsá á Fjöllum (206 km, 7 750 km 2), the most water-rich river is the Ölfusá with a water volume of 423 m 3 per second. None of the rivers are navigable. The largest inland lake is the Thingvallavatn (85 km 2) (up to 114 m deep).
According to topschoolsintheusa, the school system begins with kindergarten as an optional offer for children from 1 to 6 years of age. School attendance is compulsory from the age of 6 to 16 in primary and secondary schools called elementary schools (grades 1–10). Around 90% of all pupils aged between 16 and 20 take advantage of the optional offer of secondary education in four types of secondary school (general school, technical school, integrated secondary school, technical school). A prerequisite for admission to university is the examination from secondary school (Studentspróf).
In upbringing, values such as fitness for life, independence and a sense of responsibility are promoted.
The largest of the eight universities is the University of Iceland in Reykjavík (founded in 1911). All state educational institutions are essentially publicly funded, private kindergartens and schools charge fees.
The constitution guarantees freedom of the press. The media landscape is broad. In addition to the state media, the company »365 miðlar« has a strong market position. The Icelandic telecommunications company Fjarskipti (brand name Vodafone Iceland) and other companies acquired the rights of “365 miðlar” in 2019 with the permission of the competition authority.
Press: There are only two dozen newspapers with the highest circulation: the daily »Fréttablaðið« (founded 2001), a free newspaper from »365«, the independence party affiliated »Morgunblaðið« (founded 1913) and the weekly papers »Séð & Heyrt« (tabloid) and »Vikan« (founded in 1938; family newspaper). – There is no national news agency.
Broadcasting: The public broadcasting company Ríkisútvarpið (RU V; founded in 1930) sends two national radio programs and a television with the commitment, the Icelandic language and history especially highlighted. The private sector is dominated by »365« with the TV station »Stöð 2« and several special interest channels (mainly for sports) as well as five radio stations.