Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


November 14, 1963, the volcanic island of Surtsey emerged from the ocean five miles south of Iceland. It was named after the fire giant Surt from Norse mythology. Submarine eruption began on November 8, 1963, emerging from the water on November 15, and lasted until June 5, 1967, when the island reached its maximum size of 2.7 sq.kilometers. Ever since, it has steadily diminished and is now (2002) only 1.4 sq. kilometers in size.

A classic site for the study of biocolonization from founder populations that arrive from outside ('allochthonous'), Surtsey was declared a nature reserve in 1965, while the eruption was still in active progress. The volcano has been dormant since 1967.

The undersea vents that produced Surtsey are part of the Vestmannaeyjar ("West Man Island") submarine volcanic system, part of the fissure of the sea floor called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Vestmannaeyjar also produced the famous eruption of Heimaey (Eldfell).

External Links