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Place names around Iceland in the Iceland Continental Shelf Portal

11.5.2011

The National Energy Authority has published place names in the sea and on the seafloor around Iceland along with new names for the Dreki Area and the Aegir Basin, but those remote areas have few pre-existing place names. The place names are based on reports by Haukur Jóhannesson that were written at Iceland GeoSurvey for the National Energy Authority. These are shown as two layers; on the one hand, as a map layer, and, on the other hand, as points which give access to further information on the individual place names.

There are many place names that seamen have used through the centuries to describe parts of the continental shelf. Other names for this area were added in the 20th century when seamen began fishing in deeper waters. Deeper and more distant areas often do not have place names to describe the seabed topography. When proposing place names for use as reference points, for example when conducting seabed research, Icelandic literature from the Middle Ages is integrated in a way similar to what the Norwegians did.  However, in many instances consideration is given to the topography. Where names are given that appear to be unfamiliar, attempts are made to link them in some way to the topography. Many place names originate from Nordic mythology, which gives them an international connotation, in particular for countries with a Germanic language. Using names by latter-day personages is avoided unless they have already been given. Place names for the Dreki Area are based on Völsungasaga, a 13th century prose epic, as Fáfnir in this story is the most famous dragon (reference to Dreki, which is ‘dragon' in Icelandic) in ancient Icelandic literature.

Iceland Continental Shelf Portal