Skip to main content


New Geophysics Terminology Collection

Two women and a grey-haired man sit at a table. Behind them, a man stands. In the background, green shelves that house old-looking books.
The Geophysics Terminology Committee. L to R: Fjóla María Sigurðardóttir, Halldór Geirsson, Elisa Piispa and Páll Einarsson.

The Geophysics Terminology Collection is now online at the Icelandic Term Bank. An accessible bilingual terminology collection (Icelandic-English) for geophysics is an essential resource for students, instructors and professionals in the field. It is the policy of the University of Iceland to carry out undergraduate studies in Icelandic and graduate studies in English where applicable. However, a large portion of undergraduate studies in geophysics is currently conducted in English. A growing number of academic staff are of foreign origin and require ready access to terminology collections to carry out their work in an Icelandic teaching environment. The terminology collection also plays a key role for the public and news media in Iceland in light of recurrent natural disasters and the need to communicate information about these natural phenomena in the Icelandic language.

The aim of the project was to compile a terminology collection in geophysics and make it accessible through the Icelandic Term Bank. While the language of the Term Bank’s interface is Icelandic, the database itself can be searched through English terms. The project was modeled on the lexicon Terms and Concepts in Seismology and Tectonics, which Páll Einarsson compiled for his students over decades while also expanding the lexicon and adding terms in geomagnetism, gravimetry and other terms that come up in early geophysics courses at the University of Iceland, like General Geophysics and Geophysical Exploration.

The project was carried out in collaboration with Ágústa Þorbergsdóttir, editor of the Icelandic Term Bank at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, who offered guidance in terminology work and creating a terminology collection. A total of 358 concepts in geophysics have been entered into the Icelandic Term Bank, including 230 concepts from the aforementioned lexicon by Páll Einarsson and are accompanied by a definition in Icelandic. In addition, 125 new concepts have been entered into the Icelandic Term Bank. The project is funded by the Áslaug Hafliðadóttir Fund.