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Iceland characterizes for its eruptions and earthquakes. How do Icelanders take advantage of Iceland’s volcanic nature?
Question Date: 2012-08-20
Answer 1:

What an insightful question! Iceland is an incredibly novel island—particularly for human habitation. Despite being very far north (just outside of the Arctic Circle), the climate is moderated by the Gulf Stream (a steady current of warm air and water that also gives England its moderate temperatures), which has allowed people to live there for two thousand years. Have you ever heard of Vikings?

As you mentioned, the island is also extremely geologically activity, a situation that the residents of the island have been taking advantage of since they settled there. The hot springs, which are created by ground water flowing near magma (underground lava), are prevalent in Iceland, because of this geological activity. The Vikings used these warm pools as baths (like hot tubs!); people still use the Viking baths today.

Icelanders have also found ways to take advantage of the geological activity for energy production. One-third of the country’s power is “geothermal,” which means that they use the Earth’s underground heat (often the hot water I mentioned above) to warm homes and buildings directly, or create electricity through steam- power. Finally, Iceland’s lava flows, geysers, hot springs, and volcanic landscape also help the country’s economy by bringing tourists to come and see all of the islands wonders.

Unfortunately, active volcanoes can also create problems for the people of Iceland and residents of neighboring countries. In the past few years, volcanic eruptions have destroyed local homes and sent plumes of ash into the air that disrupted airplane travel all over Europe and, as result, the world.

Maybe you will get to visit Iceland one day and see all of these incredible things! But watch your step, you don’t want to walk on any hot lava!

Answer 2:

Iceland uses the hot water generated underground by its numerous volcanoes for generating electricity (this source of energy--geothermal--does not generate greenhouse gases, the way conventional power plants do). Since Iceland has plenty of cheap electricity--and few people to use it--much of the "excess" is used to refine ores, such as the one aluminum comes from. Geothermal waters are also used to warm homes, offices, spas, and swimming pools.

Answer 3:

Apart from the beautiful scenery provided by Iceland's volcanic landscape that Icelanders use to attract tourists, Iceland is also one of the world's major users of geothermal electric power. The high levels of volcanism should also provide Iceland with fertile soils for growing crops as well, but Iceland is so far north that I'm not certain how well the land's fertility compensates for the harsh climate.

Answer 4:

Icelandic Greenhouse use geothermal energy very effectively to not only grow their own fruits & vegetables (and flowers!) but also to export them. They also use the hydroelectric potential of all the seasonally melting Ice and I suppose that one could argue they would not have as many glaciers if they did not have mountains & the mountains are volcanic in origin.

Answer 5:

Icelanders take advantage of Iceland's volcanic nature mostly in geothermal ways. What does geothermal mean? Geo - meaning from the Earth, and Thermal meaning heat, so heat from the Earth. Near volcanos, there are thinner areas of the Earth's crust than in other areas. In these thinner areas, we can dig far enough to get an area of warmth - much warmer than on the surface. So think of the floor in your bathroom or kitchen - it probably is tiled or linoleum which can pass heat pretty well. I mean that when it's cold out, the floor is cold, and when it is warm, it is warm. Carpet on the other hand is pretty much one temperature all year round. So Icelanders will put pipes filled with water in their concrete floors, and then the pipes will travel underground until it gets warm, and then returns up to the house. The water is pumped through these pipes, bringing the hot water up to the house, and heating the house through the floor. This is just one way! Maybe use this as a starting point for a research project in the future to find out more!

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