Iceland is located in northwestern Europe. It comprises of the island of Iceland and its outlying small islands in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, and the Faroe Islands. It is strategically located between Greenland and Europe. The country has a population of 321,857 and a total area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), which makes it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The island nation makes up for it in its density of absolutely stunning landscapes. Lakes and glaciers comprise around 14% of the island’s surface, and geysers–including Geysir, the geyser for which all others are named–dot the rugged terrain and add an almost mystical volatility to the otherworldly atmosphere.
Despite the pristine pictures above, Iceland is not immune from environmental degradation: years of deforestation and overgrazing courtesy of imported fauna have taken their toll, and many farms are now being abandoned. Not all is lost, though.
A geologically young land, Iceland is located on both the Iceland hotspot and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs right through it. This location means that the island is highly geologically active with many volcanoes, notably Hekla, Eldgjá, Herðubreið and Eldfell. The volcanic eruption of Laki in 1783–1784 caused a famine that killed nearly a quarter of the island’s population. In addition, the eruption caused dust clouds and haze to appear over most of Europe and parts of Asia and Africa for several months afterward, and affected climates in other areas.