From Iceland — VIDEO: Kolbeinsey, Iceland's Northernmost Island, Is Hanging In There

VIDEO: Kolbeinsey, Iceland’s Northernmost Island, Is Hanging In There

Published April 28, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Icelandic Coast Guard

Lonely Kolbeinsey, Iceland’s northernmost point, is fighting a losing battle against erosion from the sea and the weather. The Icelandic Coast Guard regularly measures the tiny island to assess its rate of decay, and have reported new findings.

As it stands now, Kolbeinsey is 20 metres wide from west to east, and 14.5 metres long from north to south.

The island, which lies roughly 105 kilometres north of the mainland, was first measured in 1616. At that time, it was reportedly 100 metres wide and about 700 metres long by today’s standards. By 1903, it was about half that size, and by 2001, it measured just 90m2.

Despite its tiny size, the island does play one important role: maintaining the northern extent of Iceland’s territorial waters. When the island disappears altogether, it is quite likely that Iceland’s territorial waters will need to be negotiated again, as famed YouTuber Tom Scott pointed out last year.

You can watch the Icelandic Coast Guard visit and measure Kolbeinsey here or below, and catch the feeling of standing on a slippery wet rock being pounded by waves in the middle of an ocean while trying to operate a tape measure.

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