The Suðurnes area
The Suðurnes area
Coordinates: 63°55′N 22°15′W / 63.917°N 22.250°W / 63.917; -22.250
 • Total829 km2 (320 sq mi)
 • Total27,829
 • Density24.5/km2 (63/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeIS-2
Map of the Suðurnes region

Southern Peninsula (Icelandic: Suðurnes, Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈsʏːðʏrˌnɛːs] ) is an administrative unit and part of Reykjanesskagi (pronounced [ˈreiːcaˌnɛsˌskaijɪ]), or Reykjanes Peninsula, a region in southwest Iceland. It was named after Reykjanes, the southwestern tip of Reykjanesskagi.[1]

The region has a population of 27,829 (2020) and is one of the more densely populated parts of the island. The administrative centre is Keflavík, which had 7,000 residents when it merged with the nearby town of Njarðvík and Hafnir in 1995 to create Reykjanesbær, which is the largest settlement outside the Greater Reykjavík area; in 2018 the region had a population of 17,805.[2] The region is the location of Keflavík International Airport, the major point of entry for Iceland.[3][4] Some fishing towns, such as Grindavík, Njarðvík and Sandgerði, are situated on the peninsula.

The peninsula is marked by active volcanism under its surface and large lava fields, allowing little vegetation. There are numerous hot springs in the southern half of the peninsula, around the Kleifarvatn lake and the Krýsuvík geothermal area.[5] There is a geothermal power station at Svartsengi. Near the power station a luxury spa and pool area has been installed using the hot and mineralized water coming down from the power station; it is known as the "Blue Lagoon" (Bláa Lónið).[6]

The Bridge Between Continents spans the Álfagjá [ˈaulvaˌcauː] rift valley (60 feet (18 m) wide and 20 feet (6.1 m) deep) near Grindavík, which is promoted to tourists as marking the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It was built in 2002 and previously named Leif the Lucky bridge in honor of Icelandic explorer Leif Eriksson who traveled from Europe to America nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus.[7]

A great deal of volcanic unrest was occurring in this part of the Reykjanes Peninsula from 2020 onward, after nearly 800 years of inactivity. After the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano started on 19 March 2021,[8] National Geographic's experts predicted that this "may mark the start of decades of volcanic activity". The eruption was small, leading to a prediction that this volcano was unlikely to threaten "any population centers".[9] In November 2023, a new bout of seismic activity occurred around Grindavík, prompting the town's evacuation and the declaration of a state of emergency over the threat of an imminent volcanic eruption,[10] culminating in the 2023-2024 Sundhnúkur eruptions.

Reykjanes volcanic belt

Reykjanes volcanic belt
The Reykjanes volcanic belt is almost completely covered by lava fields.
Highest point
Coordinates63°52′12″N 22°33′30″W / 63.87000°N 22.55833°W / 63.87000; -22.55833
Map of volcanic systems on the Reykjanes Peninsula. 1) Reykjanes, 2) Svartsengi, 3) Fagradalsfjall, 4) Krýsuvík, 5) Brennisteinsfjöll, and 6) Hengill
LocationReykjanes Peninsula, Iceland
Parent rangeMid-Atlantic Ridge
Mountain typefissure
Last eruption2023 CE[11]

Main article: Geology of Reykjanes Peninsula

The Southern Peninisula contains the south western portion of the Reykjanes volcanic belt, where the continuation of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and its submarine Reykjanes Ridge with the transitional Eldey volcanic system, rise above sea level. The Reykjanes volcanic belt has between 3 and 6 volcanic systems (depending on author -see map for 6 system on land classification of the Reykjanes, Svartsengi, Fagradalsfjall, Krýsuvík, Brennisteinsfjöll, and Hengill volcanic systems). These are closely spaced en-echelon fissure systems, extending across the Reykjanes Peninsula.[12][13][14][15]). Each volcanic system on the peninsula consists of (volcanic and tectonic) fissures and faults directed mostly NE-SW and may have other features such as lava fields and postglacial basaltic crater rows. Only the Hengill volcanic system, the most eastern system, has an additional central volcano, but this is outside the Southern Peninsula.[16][17] Tephra deposits from offshore explosive Holocene eruptions have been preserved on the Reykjanes Peninsula.[13]


See also


  1. ^ "Reykjanes Peninsula". Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Information about Keflavík". Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "Keflavik International Airport". Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  4. ^ "Leifur Eriksson Air Terminal". Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  5. ^ "Krysuvik geothermal area". Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "Svartsengi power plant". Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Bridge Between Continents". Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  8. ^ Bindeman, I. N.; Deegan, F. M.; Troll, V. R.; Thordarson, T.; Höskuldsson, Á; Moreland, W. M.; Zorn, E. U.; Shevchenko, A. V.; Walter, T. R. (2022-06-29). "Diverse mantle components with invariant oxygen isotopes in the 2021 Fagradalsfjall eruption, Iceland". Nature Communications. 13 (1): 3737. doi:10.1038/s41467-022-31348-7. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 9243117. PMID 35768436.
  9. ^ "Eruption in Iceland may mark the start of decades of volcanic activity". Archived from the original on March 22, 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Iceland declares state of emergency over volcanic eruption threat: Powerful earthquakes rock country's southwestern Reykjanes peninsula, increasing likelihood of event". The Guardian. 10 November 2023. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  11. ^ December 19, 2023 - Iceland volcano erupts
  12. ^ Thor Thordarson, Armann Hoskuldsson: Iceland. Classic geology of Europe 3. Harpenden 2002, p.48-49, eg.
  13. ^ a b Sigurgeirsson, Magnús Á.; Einarsson, Sigmundur (2019). "Catalogue of Icelandic Volcanoes - Reykjanes and Svartsengi volcanic systems". Icelandic Meteorological Office, Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland, Civil Protection Department of the National Commissioner of the Iceland Police. Retrieved 29 December 2023.
  14. ^ Icelandic Met Office. Aviation colour code. Retrieved 17. August 2020.
  15. ^ Jillian Mary Verbeurgt: A comparative analysis of the magnetic anomalies associated with the geothermal systems on Reykjanes peninsula. Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Sustainable Energy Science. Haraldur Auðunsson, Supervisor. Reykjavík University. September 2019 Retrieved 17. August 2020.
  16. ^ Thor Thordarson, Armann Hoskuldsson: Iceland. Classic geology of Europe 3. Harpenden 2002, p.14 and 63.
  17. ^ Helgi Páll Jónsson: Eldfjallagarður og jarðminjasvæði á Reykjanesskaga. Jarðvísindadeild Háskóli Íslands 2011. MS ritgerð. Leiðbeinendur Ólafur Ingólfsson. Skoðað 17. ágúst 2020.