Geological maps

The IINH researches and maps the bedrock and loose strata (surficial deposits) of Iceland. Geology maps published by the IINH are of various different types, but they have in common that they provide information on the formation and geomorphology of Iceland and the age and composition of strata. The data used to create these maps come from numerous geologists, often as part of collaborations with other institutes.

In addition to these geology maps, a number of specialised maps of specific areas have been published.  These include landslide maps, geomorphological maps, and a geological map of Surtsey.

Bedrock geology

Berggrunnskort 1:600000 5787x4016

This map at a scale of 1:600,000 broadly outlines the bedrock geology of Iceland. Bedrock is classified on the basis of its age, type, and composition. The map also illustrates the position of volcanic zones in Iceland and the distribution of Holocene eruption sites. Postglacial lavas are divided into prehistoric and historic lavas.

The author of the map is Haukur Jóhannesson. The most recent edition is from 2014. Nýjasta útgáfa er frá árinu 2014.




Höggunarkort 1:600000 5787x4016

This tectonic map at a scale of 1:600,000 shows the geology of Iceland in an innovative manner. Strata are classified by age but not by type or composition. The tectonic map shows the position of volcanic systems, dyke and fault swarms, and active and extinct fissure swarms. The map also outlines fracture zones in Iceland and dip of strata.

The map’s authors are Haukur Jóhannesson and Kristján Sæmundsson. The most recent edition is from 2009.



Geothermal energy

Jarðhiti 1:500.000
Picture: Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands

This geothermal map shows the location, temperature, and nature of geothermal sites at the surface. A distinction is made between heat emerging in the form of water (vatn) and steam (gufa). Carbonic acid springs (kolsýrulaugar) are specially marked. The approximate boundaries of high temperature geothermal areas (háhitasvæði) are shown in magenta. Red triangles indicate locations where there are signs of subsurface geothermal activity, and blue triangles represent known subglacial and submarine geothermal zones. Data on bedrock age, type, and composition comes from the Bedrock geology map (see above).

This map is part of a joint report on geothermal energy prepared in cooperation with the National Energy Authority (Helgi Torfason 2003. Jarðhitakort af Íslandi og gagnasafn um jarðhita. Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands og Orkustofnun, NÍ-03016; OS-2003/062. 167 pp.) and is in Icelandic only.


Geological maps of Iceland

Yfirlit 1:250.000
Picture: NÍ Lovísa Ásbjörnsdóttir

Geological maps of Iceland at a scale of 1:250,000 (nine sheets). The maps show the main features of the geology of Iceland. Bedrock is classified by age, type and composition. Surficial deposits are classified from postglacial to Holocene. The map also shows the distribution of Pleistocene and postglacial eruption sites, geothermal sites, rockslides, the direction of glacial striae, strike and dip, and the location of fossil finds.

A total of 7 of 9 sheets have been published to date. Publication and revision was ongoing in 1960–1994. Publication of the remaining two sheets is planned for the future, after a long hiatus. The still-unpublished sheets are of mid-north Iceland (4) and mid-east Iceland (8). Revision and digitisation of previously published sheets will also be necessary.


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