Abstract

The geology of the area around the northern part of the Langjökull ice sheet in central Iceland is outlined. This area includes the termination of the western neovolcanic zone, two silicic centers, and basaltic interglacial, intraglacial, and postglacial volcanoes. The lava succession becomes older to the northwest of the area where the zone of young volcanoes gives away to a pile of lavas of pre-Bruhnes epoch age which dip at low angles towards the active zone.This active zone undergoes a change in strike from NE–SW to north–south near latitude 64 °55′N and the volcanoes north of this are smaller in volume than those on the southern extension of the zone. The area of Bruhnes epoch activity dies out above latitude 65 °10′N but much of the area between here and the north coast of Iceland was a line of volcanic activity during the preceding Matuyama epoch.The northern part of the western active zone in Iceland became inactive in late Pleistocene times, and the southern part of the zone is an area of continuing crustal growth. The zone of active volcanism does not terminate against a transform fault and crustal growth is accommodated by deformation of the crustal plate. Lines of crustal growth which subsequently die out can be invoked to explain the anticline and syncline structures in the lava pile and the currently-active Snaefellsnes zone in western Iceland.

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