Surtsey volcano is the youngest volcanic island in Iceland. The little volcanic island of Surtsey is positioned in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago off the southern coast of Iceland.
The volcano was formed after an underwater eruption heaved up mountains. The volcano was originally 130 metres below sea level. Surtsey volcano was formed by a series of explosions and by 1967; the island was about 150 m above the sea level covering an area of approximately 2.7 km sq.
The island hardened quickly despite the high corrosion from crashing sea water and it is now a rock, a volcanic island. Surtsey is one of the most restricted yet research and filmed islands on earth. Botanists, volcanologists, and biologists have continued to study the island since its creation.
No visitors are allowed on the island, and any person in the research field visiting will require a permit. It is the perfect place to see how islands develop as well as how fauna and flora evolve on a newly formed land. Nonetheless, it is preserved to allow natural processes to develop without disturbance by human intrusion.
One prominent aspect of Surtsey volcano is that the vents that led to the formation of the island are in fact, part of the great Vestmannaeyjar volcanic system, which is known to be part of the great Mid-Atlantic Ridge fissure. Nonetheless, scientists have established against original measurements, that at least 40% of the island has already been lost to erosion from the air and water.
Surtsey is home to a variety of both marine and submarine species that have settled in the area such as Harbor and Grey seals. Where there are seals, there are Orcas which have been regularly spotted in the area.
The submarine portion of the island is a haven for sea urchins and countless starfish.
Furthermore, just three years after eruptions, birds could be seen nesting on Surtsey volcano. The first species to settle in Surtsey were Fulmar and Guillemot. More species that have settled on the island include Atlantic Puffin and Golden Plover. At least fourteen species are now regularly found on the island.
Surtsey volcano island got inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008. The island is a natural laboratory that provides invaluable information regarding the processes of biological colonisation, geological transformation, deeper understanding of marine life and is also part of the World Heritage Marine Programme.