Surtsey becomes UNESCO site

The wrong sort of puffinAfter meeting in Canada on Monday, the World Heritage Committee announced the inclusion of 13 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Iceland Review reports.

Among that number is Surtsey, the southernmost of Iceland’s Westman Islands, created by undersea volcanic eruptions in 1963.

The island has been preserved as a ‘living laboratory’ since 1964, allowing scientists the chance to study how new land masses are colonised by species without the interference of man.

In 2004, the island’s population had grown to 60 species of vascular plant, 24 species of fungi and 89 bird species – only 57 of which breed elsewhere in Iceland.