Surtsey Island Continues to Develop Skip to content

Surtsey Island Continues to Develop

Geothermal heat levels have increased under the western part of Surtsey island since the last time measures were taken, according to results from the latest scientific expedition to the island last week.

The expedition also discovered new species on the island, including eider ducks, which have nested there for the first time.

Two new species of vascular plants have taken root on Surtsey, as have new species of moth and other small creatures.

“The biggest news was finding an eider duck hen on the nest,” expedition leader Borgþór Magnússon told

Borgþór says that this is the first new bird species found to be nesting on Surtsey since 2009.

Surtsey is a volcanic island which was created in 1963 by an undersea eruption. It is the southernmost of the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago and therefore also the southernmost point in Iceland.

After surfacing from the ocean, Surtsey was quickly named a natural laboratory where the colonization of life on a new landmass is monitored and researched, without human interference. Nobody is allowed to visit Surtsey at all—with the exception of an annual scientific expedition.

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