Icelandic bedrock is young in comparison to the age of the continents. The oldest bedrock found at the surface is about 16 million years old. Surficial deposits, or sediments, mainly date from the end of the last Ice Age (around 15,000 years or younger). Fire and water have shaped Iceland from the outset. Volcanism, glaciers, inland waters, and the surrounding ocean have all played a role in sculpting the landscape we recognise today.

Conservation of geological heritage is important in Iceland, due to the rich diversity of geological formations, some of which are unique from a global perspective.

A large collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils can be found at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History (IINH). These all provide information on Iceland and can by accessed by researchers studying Iceland’s geology. Not many new geological maps on bedrock and surficial deposits have been published in recent years, but most of the GIS data compiled by the IINH have been made available online.