Northeast Iceland

Eyjafjörður is a fjord opening out towards the Arctic Ocean and the island of Grímsey, with the major town of Akureyri at its head and, inland from there, some of the best farming land in Iceland. Eyjafjörður has always played an important role in Icelandic history.
Towards the mouth of Eyjafjörður are sheer cliffs, while the more populated southern part has more lowland. Three islands are included in the district: Hrísey, Hrólfssker and Grímsey, which lies outside the fjord and straddles the Arctic Circle. There are three main valleys-Svarfaðardalur, Hörgárdalur and Eyjafjörður-with many tributaries. The area is mountainous and has few lakes, although there are many rivers.
Basalt is the main rock type, and rhyolite is found in some places. There are no active central volcanoes, although dramatic volcanic features characterize the landscape. Hot springs are found in many parts of the area, mostly har-nessed for heating. In general there is rich vegetation, with pastures, marshland and moorland. Some woods are found in the district. Rural areas tend to be relatively densely populated, and there are many towns and villages. Eyjafjörður boasts some of the finest weather in Iceland during summer.
South-Þingey is the district broadly defined as stretching from the mountains on the east shore of Eyjafjörður to the Jökulsá river in Vatnajökull National Park, and extending all the way down to the highland interior.
The headland of the peninsula between Eyjafjörður and Skjálfandi Bay is mountainous, with little lowland. It was once inhabited, but the last residents left in the late 1940s. High mountains rise west of Skjálfandi, with the Fnjóskadalur valley between them and Vaðlaheiði heath. At Bárðardalur valley, the landscape changes sharply and much younger features appear: low, flat heaths separated by valleys with the occasional table mountain dominating the surroundings, the product of subglacial eruptions during the Ice Age. To the south, the land slopes up towards the interior. A number of now uninhabited islands lie off the shore. Several major rivers enter Skjálfandi Bay, and there are many lakes as well.

West of Bárðardalur valley basalt is the dominant rock type, but towards the east palagonite and other younger forms occur. There are many active central volcanoes in the district, and intense geothermal activity.

The quality of the vegetation varies greatly; large areas are covered by lava and sand, and erosion is often heavy. Dry moorland is common, characterized by heather and willow shrub.
Agriculture is the main activity in the countryside. Húsavík, lying between Húsavíkurfjall mountain and the sea, is the only real town.
North Þingey extends from Tjörnes peninsula across Melrakkaslétta plain to the northeast coast, and is bordered by the Jökulsá river. North Þingey borders the sea at two bays, Öxarfjörður on the north coast and Þistilfjörður on the east and along the extensive northern coast. Melrakkaslétta is mainly lowland, rising to low moorland with occasional mountain peaks. The main river is Jökulsá á Fjöllum, and there are many lakes. Palagonite predominates as a rock type, and lava fields are widespread. Geothermal activity is only found in Öxarfjörður.

There is generally some vegetation cover, with moorland in Kelduhverfi and inland, and wetland to the east. Trees are found in many places. The three villages in the district are centres for fishing and local services. Agriculture is the main activity, based on the good grazing land.

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