Surtsey’s suspended fate

Have you ever wondered what happen to volcanic islands that rise from the sea? Footage of their rising out of the ocean is always spectular but no one ever mentions what goes on next. Think things remain the way they are? You would be so wrong, so many slow processes occur. Actually, many of new volcanic islands never last long until they fall apart back on the seafloor or are eroded by the waves.

We’ve taken the example of Surtsey, which is a tiny island off the coast of Iceland in the Atlantic Ocean. It rose from the depths a bit more than 50 years ago but it has already been largely gnawed away by the ocean. Will it survive the erosion process? Scientists have studied it ever since its birth and only a study of its geologic evolution can answer this question. Have a look…
Infographic on the geologic evolution of the volcanic island of Surtsey

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Visual credits:
Background: Wikimedia, waves-july 2009.
Map 1 adapted from: Topographic map of Surtsey-fr and Sketch map of Surtsey.
Map 2 adapted from: Changes in the outline of Surtsey and Surtsey Geological map.

References:
Fridriksson, S. (1989)  The Volcanic Island of Surtsey, Iceland, a Quarter-century After it ‘Rose from the Sea’. Environmental Conservation.
Jakobsson, S.P. et al. (2000) Geological monitoring of Surtsey, Iceland, 1967-1998. Surtsey Research 11 .
Ólafsson, M. and Jakobsson, S.P. (2009) Chemical composition of hydrothermal water and water-rock interactions on Surtsey volcanic island. A preliminary report. Surtsey Research 12.
Stroncik, N.A. and Schmincke, H-U. (2002) Palagonite – a review. Int J Earth Sci.
The Surtsey Research Society (2013) Surtsey 50th Anniversary Conference, Geological and Biological Development of Volcanic Islands, Programme and Abstracts.
The Surtsey Research Society

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