Iceland (1,725 m, 1,512 m) – Most Active Volcanoes in the North Atlantic
Mount Grimsvotn and Mount Katla are two of the most prominent, and most active, volcanoes in the entire North Atlantic. Together they dominate the heavily volcanic island-nation of Iceland, and both have experienced major eruptions within the last few years. Despite this activity, or perhaps because of it, these two volcanoes are powerful tourist draws, like their counterparts on the big island of Hawaii half-way around the world.
The volcanoes of uninhabited Iceland were probably first spotted and investigated by Viking explorers in the Middle Ages. There is no record of when they were scaled for the first time. But their fame comes from the frequency and intensity of eruptions. Both have registered dozens of eruptions thoughout recorded history, including massive events in 2011 at each site. Because of the unusual interaction of magma and glaciers, these volcanoes are of particular interest to geologists.
Both Grimsvotn and Katla are located close to the southern rim of the island, Katla to the south approximately ninety miles east of Reykjavik, and Grimsvotn further east approximate 120 miles east of Reykjavik. These are both popular outdoor destinations in summer, though the threat of eruption as well as glacial ice makes these areas dangerous at times.
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