| ||In the south of the island, this volcanic cone made up of ashes and projections of solidified lava was created by one of the numerous eruptions that occurred beneath the ice of the Myrdalsjökull glacier. The Maelifell volcano emerged from the retreating glacier about 10.000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age and is now bathed by the torrents flowing from the melting glacier. Its perfect cone which stands 656 feet (200 meters) above the plain is covered with grimmia, a moss that grows on lava that has cooled down and changes color, from silvery grey to bright green, depending on the soil’s humidity. This moss is one of the few plants that have been able to grow on Iceland’s territory. It is indeed characterized by a certain botanical poverty with less than 1.300 vegetal species (including 500 species of moss). Only 40 percent of land is covered with permanent vegetation. Iceland (it name says it all, “the land of ice”) is geologically very young at only 23 million years old. It has over 200 active volcanoes and many glaciers that cover almost an eighth of the island’s surface area.
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