Iceland is a volcanic island in the North Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland and immediately south of the Arctic Circle. It lies about 4,200 kilometers (2,600 mi.) from New York and 830 kilometers (520 mi.) from Scotland. About 79% of Iceland’s land area, which is of recent volcanic origin, consists of glaciers, lakes, a mountainous lava desert (highest elevation 2,000 meters– 6,590 ft.–above sea level), and other wasteland. 20% of the land is used for grazing, and 1% is cultivated. The inhabited areas are on the coast, particularly in the southwest. Because of the Gulf Stream’s moderating influence, the climate is characterized by damp, cool summers and relatively mild but windy winters. In Reykjavik, the average temperature is 11 o C(52 o F) in July and -1 o C (30 o F) in January. The people who live in Iceland speak Icelandic and are Lutheran. The education is very good in Iceland, children go to school until they are sixteen, the literacy rate is 99.9 percent and attendance of the children is 99 percent. People that live in Iceland are expected to live for seventy years, the population is 269,735, and there government is Constitutional republic. People that live in Iceland enjoy, camping, hiking, skiing, horseback riding, fly fishing, and golf. They process seafood, aluminum, diatomite, and export wool and crops. People of Iceland’s last names are based on the adoption of the father’s first given name. For example, Magnus and Anna, children of a man named Petur, would hold the last name Petursson and Petursdottir, respectively. Magnus’ children, in turn, would inherit the last name Magnusson, while Anna’s children would claim their father’s first given name as their last name. Women normally maintain their original last names after marriage. This system of last names/surnames is required by law, except for the descendants of those who had acquired family names before 1913.
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