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What are the physical features of Iceland?

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Quick Answer

The physical features of Iceland include a volcanic plateau, coastal plains, mountains, valleys and glaciers. Glaciers are a prominent feature in this country, covering 11 percent of its landmass, or nearly 7,500 square miles.

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Full Answer

Mountains are an important physical feature of Iceland. The highest mountain peak is Hvannadalshnjúkur, at 6,852 feet above sea level. Glaciers top many of the country's highest mountains. The largest glacier, Vatnajökull, is located in the southeastern peaks.

The majority of Iceland consists of a giant volcanic plateau that rises between 2,100 and 2,600 feet above sea level. Because Iceland is the result of a meeting between the Eurasian and American tectonic plates, this country has some of the most active volcanoes in the world. It contains over 200 volcanoes. The two most recently erupted volcanoes, as of 2015, are Grímsvötn and Eyjafjallajökull, creating a near constant lava flow that covers nearly 7,000 square miles of the island. This lava causes the landmass to grow by 5 centimeters every year.

The northern region of Iceland is characterized by grasslands where livestock are grazed. The coastal plains are the most suitable locations for agriculture. Other physical features include fjords, canyons and valleys. Iceland is rich in hot springs due to the volcanic activity. These hot springs are used to heat buildings and homes.

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