By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (November 15, 2023) – Today’s edition of Fun with Maps teaches us about the youngest island – an uninhabited island. 


Happy 60th birthday to a geographical baby – the island of Surtsey. 

Surtsey is the southernmost point of Iceland, an uninhabited island which surfaced on November 14, 1963 when an underwater volcanic eruption occurred.  Eruptions continued for the next four years to form the area at its peak.

The island is named after Surtur, a fire giant in Norse mythology.

Since its emergence, Surtsey has been a UNESCO World Heritage protected site.  The pristine volcanic land has allowed (Editor’s note: only a small number of scientists for a few days each year) an opportunity to study how plant and animal life come to inhabit new places. 

Seeds have been carried in by ocean waves; birds have made stops in their migratory patterns, and some have made permanent homes there.  Molds, bacteria, fungi and invertebrates are now growing there.

It is expected that by the year 2100, Surtsey will be eroded away, just as the smaller islands created during the same eruption did. 

Ortelius created this map of Iceland in 1602.  

Map of Iceland circa 1602 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon