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14 November 2013

Surtsey

Left : Glaucous Gull (北極鷗) ; Right : Surtsey (敘爾特塞)
Iceland (2009, 2013)

12th September, 2013. Reykjavík (First day special postmark)

Surtsey is a volcanic island off the southern coast of Iceland. At 63.303°N 20.6047°W Coordinates: 63.303°N 20.6047°W, is the southernmost point of Iceland. It was formed in a volcanic eruption which began 130 metres below sea level, and reached the surface on 14 November 1963. The eruption lasted until 5 June 1967, when the island reached its maximum size of 2.7 km². Since then, wind and wave erosion have caused the island to steadily diminish in size: as of 2002, its surface area was 1.4 km².

A gull colony has been present since 1984, although gulls were seen briefly on the shores of the new island only weeks after it first appeared. The gull colony has been particularly important in developing the plant life on Surtsey, and the gulls have had much more of an impact on plant colonisation than other breeding species due to their abundance. An expedition in 2004 found the first evidence of nesting Atlantic Puffins, which are extremely common in the rest of the archipelago.
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