Iceland is an island to the south of the Arctic Circle, and it is located in the expanse of oceans between Norway and Greenland. The country covers an area of 40,000 square miles, an area that is equivalent to the U.S. states of Kentucky and Virginia. The country is the second largest Island in Europe and the 18th largest in the world. Iceland is one of the youngest land masses on the planet and therefore has some of the most active volcanoes. Iceland is often known as the land of fire and ice. Most of the mountains in Iceland are volcanically active with the most recent eruption taking place between 2014 and 2015 in Mount Baroarbunga. The eruptions in the country significantly affected the quality of air and forced hundreds of people out of their homes.
Hvannadalshnjukur Mountain has an elevation of 2,110 meters above sea level and is the highest mountain in Iceland. The mountain has a pyramidal peak located in the Öræfajökull Volcano. The volcano has erupted twice in history. The first eruption was in 1362, and it was so explosive that it turned the surrounding regions into a total wasteland. The second eruption, in 1727 went on for a whole year. The summit is in the Vatnajökull National Park. The peak is renowned as a hiking destination and attracts tourists throughout the year.
Baroarbunga Mountain is the second highest peak in Iceland with an elevation of 2,000 meters above sea level. The mountain is an impressive stratovolcano located on the northeastern part of the larger Vatnajökull glacier. Mount Baroarbunga has been a scene for volcanic activities throughout history. The Mountain recently made headlines with eruptions that started in August 2014 to February 2015. The result of this explosion was a lava field covering 82 square kilometers. The eruptions produced huge volumes of sulphur dioxide that affected the quality of air in Iceland. Some of the regions around the peak were subsequently closed off to the public. The peak is part of the Vatnajökull National Park.
The peak is part of the Kverkfjoll Mountain Ranges, and its highest summit has an elevation of 1,920 meters. The mountain has scenic glacial caves formed by hot magma lying beneath the mountain. The surrounding region is an active geothermal area and has numerous hot springs. The mountain is an active volcano with the most notable eruptions taking place in 1720. The mountain has increasingly become a tourist destination for hikers.
Snaefell has been a dormant volcano for the last 10,000 years and has a height of 1,833 meters. It is the youngest mountain in Eastern Iceland and the highest freestanding one in the country. From the mountain, local reindeer are visible in the Vesturöræfi and the Bruaröraefi regions. The mountain attracts tourists and mountain climbers mainly due to its glaciers and ice caverns. The mountain is relatively easy for climbing and trekking. On the eastern part of the mountain is the Eyjabakkar oasis, which is home to the pink-footed geese. The mountain is within the vast Vatnajökull National Park.
Other prominent peaks in Iceland by elevation include Hofsjokull at 1,765 meters, followed by Heroubreio (1,682 meters), Eiriksjokull (1,675 meters), Eyjafjallajokull (1,666 meters), Tungnafellsjokull (1,540 meters), and Kerling (1,538 meters). Iceland has increasingly become a major tourist destination, in part due to the striking scenery presented by its mountains. Environmental efforts have been ramped up by the government in order to ensure the future protection of the country's still largely unspoiled mountainous beauty.