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Surtsey was formed in a volcanic eruption first detected on the surface of the ocean on November 14th 1963. The eruption most likely started a few days before as a submarine eruption at a depth of approximately 130 meters. Soon after Surtsey was formed, scientists saw the opportunity to observe the development of the island and the colonization of organisms. From the beginning tourist traffic to the island was prohibited and is still in effect today unless permission is obtained from the Environment Agency of Iceland. This was done primarily to avoid the introduction of organisms by man, to protect fragile nature and to promote the island’s development according to the laws of nature without human influence or intervention.

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Protected Areas in Iceland

A deep blue lake in a crater in a crater in snowy season

Lake Mývatn and Laxa Nature Conservation Area

The ecosystem of Lake Mývatn' is truly unique. The name of the lake derives from the myriad of midges in the area.
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A spiky glacier

Vatnajökull National Park

The National Park is characterised by diversity on all fronts, be it landscape, biosphere, cultural remains or service levels.
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A still lake surrounded by mountains

Fjallabak Nature Reserve

The highland reserve received its protected status in 1979. The aim of the protection is to preserve unique areas so that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy them in the same way as we do.
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Rocky terrain and steep-edged mountains in the distance

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

The nature reserve contains gigantic bird cliffs, unique flora and cultural remnants that serve as monuments to an earlier era when people still lived there.
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