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Thread: Does Iceland Belong to Europe or America, Geologically?

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    Does Iceland Belong to Europe or America, Geologically?

    Does Iceland belong to Europe or America, geologically?


    It would be more correct to say that Iceland is at the meeting point of the Eurasian and the American plates and hence belongs to both of them, the eastern part to Europe and the western part to America.

    Regarding other natural conditions Iceland has more in common with Europe than America. The flora is more similar to the European one, perhaps partly by influence from the human settlement coming from that side.

    There were only very few species of wild mammals here at the time of settlement 1100 years ago. The most important one is the polar fox which is found in a great area all around the North Pole of the earth. But its, for instance, noticeable that the polar bear does not live here as it does in Greenland and Canada. This is thought to be connected to its dependence on sea ice for obtaining its main food, the seals.

    Icelandic bird life is much more related to Europe than America. Among bird species coming from the western hemisphere we may, however, mention the Northern Diver (l. Gavia immer) and the Harlequin Duck (l. Histrionicus histrionicus).

    This difference in flora and fauna derives from the fact that the climate in Iceland is "European", so to speak. The climate at similar latitude on the American East coast is quite different from Iceland and the western part of the European continent, lying to the east from us. The winters are much more tough in the west, the summers warmer but, still, the average temperature of the year is lower. This difference is of course caused by the Gulf Stream and the dominating southwestern winds. The Old Norse Wineland seafares really did notice the anomaly of the weather relative to the latitude, as can be seen from the Winland sagas. But, anyhow, it is thus not without reason that the line between America and Europe is usually drawn between Iceland and Greenland, the latter being on the other hand much more similar to the western lands.

    This conclusion is further amplified by the fact that the people most related to us are found on the European side. But perhaps this kinship is not stronger than the one between certain areas of America on the one hand and European areas on the other hand. As an example we can take the inhabitants of New-England and Britain or Quebec and France in the 17th-18th century.

    http://visindavefur.is/svar.php?id=4826


    Die Sonne scheint noch.

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    Thanks Dagna, that's an interesting read. I always considered Iceland as part of Europe

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    I would say neither. It's an oceanic country straddling the North America & Eurasian plates. By longstanding courtesy it is considered European but it could also be considered the first of the European settler countries. In the sense that it was settled in recorded history by Europeans makes it more similar to North America, part of the westward expansion of Northwestern Europeans across the Atlantic.

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    http://www.lonker.net/nature_geology_3.htm

    Here is a link to a page on the geology of Iceland. For those of you who have the time, the answer is neither/both. In layman's terms, Iceland was formed by lava leaking through the crack which separates the European and North American plates. Its not technically part of either plate, and it couldn't exist without the division between the two.

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    Geologically, both

    Dagna is right. Iceland sits astride the plate boundary between the European and North American plates. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the sea-floor spreading zone between the plates, passes through the Reykjanes peninsula, where it is known as the Reykjanes Ridge, though it is really the northern extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

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    Good question, Dagna. I am currently reading Iceland, The First American Republic by Stefansson Vilhjalmur 1939. The preface by Teddy Roosevelt was a surprise. I have always considered it the midway point. Most Europeans seem to consider it European. I am not sure what most Americans (US or Canadian) think of it.
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