*NEW* Iceland: Tectonics, Volcanics, and Glacial Features RELEASES DECEMBER 2019

Understanding the land of fire and ice: A geologist explains Iceland

A landscape driven by plate tectonics is continually moving and expanding. Learn how that translates into dynamic energy that is shaping an island.


ROME, Georgia, Fall 2019 -- As a top bucket list item most people want to visit Iceland before they die. Understandably, spectacular views of waterfalls, glaciers, and volcanoes are among the daily scenery that changes drastically as travelers follow the Ring Road around the island. 

Dr. Tamie J. Jovanelly is the author of the Iceland: Tectonics, Volcanics, and Glacial Features (Wiley, in press). A geologist, she not only captures the islands natural beauty, but increasingly enhances it through her detailed descriptions linking the relationships between structure, process, and time to the island’s evolution. The author translates peer-reviewed scientific literature to provide the reader with the most up-to-date research discussing interesting, and sometimes debated, geological theories regarding an island splitting in half due to plate tectonic motion. 

“I’m a geologist so it is natural that I initially see a landscape as one big question mark. However, on my first trip to Iceland I quickly realized that I wasn’t the only traveler who was asking, “How did this landscape form?”, says Jovanelly.  Ultimately, it was her personal thirst for knowledge that led her into writing this book. 

This text is not just intended for academics, but also for novice geologists who want to understand the magnificent scenery at a deeper level. To encourage this, the author provides background introductions and figures that offer information on foundational geological concepts. Additionally, the book has been intentionally organized for travelers to use whereby highlighting Iceland’s most popular destinations, yet putting each region into a contextual perspective. For easy reference, the book provides an index, glossary, and GPS coordinates for most locations. 

Dr. Tamie J. Jovanelly is currently an Associate Professor of Geology at a premiere liberal arts college in northwest Georgia. She received her PhD from Kent State University, her MS from University of Nebraska, and her BS from University of Michigan. She received two U.S. Fulbright Research positions (2017-2019 & 2013-2014) that supported her to conduct international investigations on water quality. Additional project funding was provided by National Geographic Society Conservation Trust Grant (2014) and Rufford Foundation (2015) . Currently, she is a US Fulbright Specialist (2017-2020) allowing her to consult on global issues relating to water allocation and resource management.

Best known by her students for her charismatic personality and enthusiasm for all things geologic, Dr. Jovanelly loves being in the classroom or creating outdoor learning experiences.  Motivated by her mantra “Winners Do More©”. This slogan that has become popular with her students may best describe her ambition and zest for living each day to its maximum potential.




What to ask?

 What was the inspiration for your book?

I have been leading Study Abroad trips to Iceland for undergraduate students since 2006. On these trips the students are enrolling in either introductory or advanced geology courses. In planning the course a decade ago I quickly realized that I was going to have to prepare my own materials. This book is a manifestation of what I hoped for when I, as an instructor, was learning the geology of Iceland. The book is organized first by sections (Tectonics, Volcanics, Glacial Features), and then by quadrants (SW, SE,NE, NW) as if the trip were traveling from Reykjavik counter-clockwise. This makes the book easily accessible when going along the perimeter road of the island. 

What's the most important thing readers will learn from Iceland: Tectonics, Volcanics, and Glacial Features?

No doubt that Iceland is made of beautiful scenery. However, without knowledge a tourist may never know that there are currently 32 active volcanoes on the island the size of Virginia. Reading this book will turn those majestic views into something mind-blowing that only scientific fact can do. Understanding the geologic processes that form, and alter, the landscapes will bring a deeper appreciation to any tourists’ visit. 

Do you speak Icelandic?

Ha! No. But I practice with good intention. 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I don’t remember loving the process of writing my dissertation, which was similar to writing a textbook in a lot of aspects. However, I absolutely loved writing as a kid and I absolutely loved every minute of writing this book. Some days I would wake up and be so happy because I knew I’d have the whole day to focus on my manuscript. It was energizing for me because I learned something new every day and was able to make relationships between the content that was not clear to me even after visiting Iceland for ten years. The process was, however, exhausting for my husband who had to hear a recap of what I wrote every night at dinner!

What was the best  advice that you received while writing the book?

Easy. My former Dean told me that “you’re not an expert before you write the book, you’re an expert after you write the book”. This gave me some grace as I would read difficult scientific literature and still be asking myself questions. The more I researched, the clearer ideas became. 

What are your  essentials when you sit down to write?

First and foremost, in order for me to write I need complete and total solitude. I write best when I have a window in front of me. Other essentials, that mostly just make me happy, include sugar-free Redbull and wintergreen peppermints. 

What is your favorite  place in Iceland?

There is nothing like being on the southern coast of Iceland and following the outer perimeter of Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajokull. It provides stunning beauty that becomes mysterious by knowing how many volcanoes are lurking under its surface. Also, Reykjavik and Aukyerki are super fun towns, especially during Icelandic futbol games!

Where can we buy the book? 

The book will be for sale on the American Geophysical Union Bookstore website https://publications.agu.org/books/  or you can order a signed copy from Dr. Jovanelly by filling out the contact form found on this website.  Lastly, you can email her at info@geologyoficeland.com



Book Reviews

 Iceland: Tectonics, Volcanics, and Glacial Features is a welcome addition to the current geological literature. The book clearly describes in detail how plate tectonics and volcanism has shaped and is shaping the landscape of Iceland, and the effect that glaciation has on these two forces. Having visited the island numerous times, Dr. Jovanelly vividly portrays the different regions of the island drawing on her experience from her numerous field explorations there. The book has drawn from the latest research on the subject and is well-referenced. It will serve the academic community well by using Iceland as a case study of geology in action. It will be a welcome addition to the library of the geology enthusiast. And finally, it will be a valuable companion to the adventure traveler who will use the book as a guide to a deeper understanding of this dynamic island. ~ Jose Santamaria, Executive Director, Tellus Museum