Lighthouses of Western Iceland

Iceland is an island nation in the North Atlantic roughly 800 km (500 mi) northwest of Scotland. Settled by Norse explorers around 870, Iceland has had a legislature since 930, but for most of its history it was under the control of the kings of Denmark. In 1918, Iceland was granted full autonomy, and in 1944 it declared its independence.

This age includes lighthouses of three of Iceland's eight regions: Suðurnes (the southwestern, or Reykjanes, peninsula), Höfuðborgarsæði (the capital region, including Reykjavík), and Vesturland (west coast).

In Icelandic, the word for a lighthouse is viti (plural vitar); ey is an island, nes is a cape, vík is a bay, and höfn is a harbor. The Icelandic language preserves the old Norse letters "eth" (Ð and ð) and "thorn" (Þ and þ), which are pronounced with the softer and harder forms of the th sound, respectively.

Lighthouses in Iceland are regulated by the Icelandic Transport Division (Samgöngustofa, or ICETRA), which also maintains and operates the major coastal lights. Local port authorities operate harbor lights.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. VIT numbers are from the Vitaskrá, the official Icelandic light list. Admiralty numbers are from volume L of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 115.

General Sources
Sjóminjasafn Íslands - Vitar
Posted by the Icelandic Maritime Museum (Sjóminjasafn Íslands), this site has small photos and historical notes for Iceland's lighthouses.
Isländische Leuchttürme
Photos of 70 Icelandic lighthouses by Klaus Huelse.
Lighthouse Pages from Anke and Jens - Iceland
Photos and accounts (in English).
Iceland Lighthouses
Photos on Flickr.com taken in 2011 by Larry Myhre.
Lighthouses in Iceland
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Icelandic lighthouses / Íslenskir vitar
Flickr.com pool for photos of Icelandic lighthouses (well over 1000 photos).
Vitaskrá
The official Icelandic light list can be downloaded in pdf format.
Vitar
Interactive map with lighthouse data from the Transport Division.
Wikimedia - Lighthouses in Iceland
Photos available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Iceland
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.
Icelandic Lighthouse Society (Íslenska Vitafélagið)
An attractive web site with several photo galleries; primarily in Icelandic.

Reykjanes Light
Reykjanes Light, Grindavík, August 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Christian Bickel

Suðurnes Region (Southwest Peninsula) Lighthouses

South Coast Lighthouses
* Krísuvíkurberg
1965. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white flash every 10 s. 5 m (16 ft) round lantern on a round cylindrical metal tower. Lantern painted red and the lower part of the tower painted yellow. Stefán Þorvaldsson has a 2008 closeup photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a bluff at Krísuvíkurberg, about 25 km (15 mi) east of Grindavík. Accessible by 4WD. Site open, tower closed. VIT-298; Admiralty L4826; NGA 18140.
* Hópsnes
1928. Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); three long (2 s) white flashes every 20 s. 8 m (26 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted orange, lantern and gallery red. Myhre's photo is at right, Huelse has a photo, Ásmundur Þorkelsson has a good closeup, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on a promontory about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southeast of Grindavík. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-048; VIT-299; Admiralty L4828; NGA 18144.
* Reykjanes (3)
1929 (station established 1879). Active; focal plane 73 m (240 ft); two white flashes every 30s. 31 m (102 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern red. The modern 2-story keeper's house is occupied by a resident attendant. Christian Bickel's photo is at the top of this page, Huelse has a good photo, Anke and Jens have a page for the lighthouse, a 2008 photo is available, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has a good satellite view. This light station, Iceland's oldest, is the landfall light for Keflavík and Reykjavík. The original lighthouse stood only eight years before being destroyed by an earthquake in 1887. Traditional in appearance, the current tower is probably Iceland's best known and most visited lighthouse. The area around the lighthouse is thermally active, and plumes of steam can often be seen in photos of the lighthouse. Located atop a hill (an inactive volcanic cone) near the southwestern point of the Reykjanes peninsula, about 16 km (10 mi) west of Grindavík and 20 km (13 mi) southwest of Keflavík. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-020; VIT-001; Admiralty L4466; NGA 18172.
Hópsnes Light
Hópsnes Light, Grindavík, September 2011
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre
Reykjanestá (Reykjanes aukaviti)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white flash every 3 s. 5 m (16 ft) square concrete tower; the light is shown through a window. Lighthouse painted orange. Huelse has a photo, Ingvar Hreinsson has a closeup, Myhre has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view. Anke and Jens report that the walk to this light over rough lava from the Reykjanes lighthouse is not easy. Located on the extreme tip of the Reykjanes peninsula, 1.7 km (1 mi) southwest of the Reykjanes lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. VIT-001.1; Admiralty L4468; NGA 18176.

Keflavík Area Lighthouses
* Stafnes
1925. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); three flashes every 15 s, white or red depending on direction. 11 m (36 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted orange, lantern and gallery red. Huelse has a photo, Myhre has a 2011 photo, Aðalsteinn Guðmundsson has a 2008 photo, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. Located at the west point of the Reykjanes peninsula, about 5 km (3 mi) south of Sandgerði. Parking available; there's an easy walk of about 300 m (0.2 mi) to the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-025; VIT-003; Admiralty L4472; NGA 18180.
* Sandgerði
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 25 m (82 ft); white, red or green light, depending on direction, occulting once every 6 s. 19 m (62 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, arising at the seaward end of a large warehouse-type building. Tower painted yellow-brown. The tower also carries a red, inverted-triangular daymark. Huelse has a photo, Myhre has a 2011 photo, Ólafur Ólafsson has a 2008 photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the waterfront of Sandgerði, a town near the northwest corner of the Reykjanes peninsula, about 6 km (4.5 mi) west of Keflavík. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-021; VIT-005; Admiralty L4476; NGA 18184.
** Garðskagi (1)
1897. Inactive since 1944. 11 m (36 ft) square concrete tower with gallery, attached to a small 1-story concrete equipment room. Lantern removed. Lighthouse painted white with two narrow red horizontal bands. A photo is at right, Anke and Jens have a page for the lighthouse, Myhre has a 2011 photo, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The lighthouse was replaced by a taller tower (next entry). In recent years the old tower has been refurbished and put to use as a bird observation tower. Located on Garðskagi (Cape Garð), the northwestern tip of the Reykjanes peninsula, about 8 km (5 mi) northwest of Keflavík. Parking provided. Site open, tower open but we have no information on the schedule. ARLHS ICE-016.
* Garðskagi (2)
1944 (station established 1897). Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white flash every 5 s; also a continuous passing light, white, red or green depending on direction, displayed at 10 m (33 ft). 27 m (89 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern red. Anke and Jens have a page with good photos, Huelse has a photo, Myhre has a 2011 closeup, Ólafur Ólafsson has a 2008 photo, Wikimedia has photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located about 200 m (220 yd) southeast of the original lighthouse on Garðskagi (Cape Garð). Parking provided. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-015; VIT-009; Admiralty L4480; NGA 18196.
* Hólmsberg
1956. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); two flashes every 20 s, white, red or green, depending on direction. 13 m (43 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted orange, lantern and gallery red. Anke and Jens have a page with a great photo, Myhre has a 2011 photo, Huelse has a photo, Johan Lindqvist has a great 2007 photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a promontory about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) northwest of Keflavík. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-047; VIT-015; Admiralty L4483; NGA 18216.
Garðskagi Light
1897 Garðskagi Light, Keflavík, August 2005
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Lucy.Bold

* Vatnsnes (Keflavík)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); three flashes every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 8 m (26 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse was previously painted yellow, but Huelse's photo shows the tower painted white and the lantern and gallery blue. Myhre has a 2011 photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located in a warehouse area at the tip of the Vatnsnes peninsula, on the northwest side of Keflavík harbor. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-094; VIT-016; Admiralty L4488; NGA 18212.
Gerðistangi
1918. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); two flashes every 10 s, white, red or green, depending on direction. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted orange, lantern and gallery red. Anke and Jens have a page with a good photo, Myhre has a 2011 photo, Huelse has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view and a very distant street view. Located on a point of land near Vogar, about 12 km (7.5 mi) east of Keflavík. The lighthouse is about 600 m (0.4 mi) from the nearest road and the surrounding land is probably private. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-038; VIT-019; Admiralty L4494; NGA 18236.

Höfuðborgarsæði Region (Reykjavík Metropolitan Area) Lighthouses

Reykjavík Approach Lighthouses
* Hafnarfjörður (Straumesvík Directional Light)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); flashing directional light, white, red or green depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft round concrete tower rising at the seaward end of a 1-story concrete building. A 2011 photo is available, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. This light replaced the former Hafnarfjörður range lights (see next entry). Located on the waterfront on the north side of Hafnarfjörður harbor, a fishing port on the southwest side of Reykjavík. Site open, tower closed. VIT-022; Admiralty L4498.5; NGA 18259.
* Hafnarfjörður Range Rear (1)
1901. Inactive. Approx. 6 m (20 ft) square cylindrical tower; the light was shown through a square window at the top of the tower. Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands. Huelse has a photo, Clavius Rork has a 2011 closeup, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. All the photos show that the lighthouse is being maintained in good condition. The front light of the former range may have been on the same location is the present directional light (previous entry). Located on a hill off Vitastígur street in Hafnarfjörður. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-112.
* Grótta
1897. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); three flashes every 20 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 23 m (75 ft) concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted white, lantern red. Helgi Halldórsson's photo at right shows two relatively modern keeper's houses, Anke and Jens have a page with good photos, Myhre has a 2011 photo, Kjartan and Inga Dögg have a nice 2009 photo, a distant view is available, Wikimedia has photos, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Grótta is an island off the end of the Seltjarnarnes peninsula about 15 km (9 mi) west of downtown Reykjavík. The lighthouse marks the entrance to the city's harbor. Parking is provided on the cape, and with some care it is possible to walk to the island at low tide. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-044; VIT-028; Admiralty L4501; NGA 18292.

Reykjavík City Lighthouses
Engey
1937. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); flash every 5 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 8 m (26 ft) square stone tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted yellow. Wojciech Miętka has a distant photo, a somewhat closer view is available, Myhre has a very distant view, and Bing has a satellite view. Engey is an island on the east side of Reykjavík's commercial harbor. Located on the northwestern tip of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown; there is a view from ships entering the harbor. ARLHS ICE-035; VIT-031; Admiralty L4505; NGA 18300.
Grótta Light
Grótta Light, Reykjavík, April 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Helgi Halldórsson
Reykjavík Norðurgarði (North Mole)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); green flash every 2 s. 4 m (13 ft) square corrugated iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow. A photo is at right, Myhre has a 2011 photo, Heinz Brethauer has a 2008 closeup photo, this is the more distant light in Huelse's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the north breakwater of the main harbor of Reykjavík, on the west side of the city. Probably accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. VIT-034; Admiralty L4506; NGA 18320.
* Reykjavík Ingólfsgarði (South Mole)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 7 m (23 ft); red flash every 2 s. 4 m (13 ft) square corrugated iron tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow. This is the closer light in Huelse's photo, Myhre has a 2011 closeup, a 2009 closeup photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of the main harbor of Reykjavík, on the west side of the city. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. VIT-033; Admiralty L4508; NGA 18316.
* Reykjavík (Sjomannaskolinn, Seaman's School)
1897. Active; focal plane 71 m (233 ft); white, red or green light, depending on direction, 2 s on, 2 s off. 32 m (105 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower, topped by an octagonal tower with a gallery and a tall steeple, and attached to the front of a large 4-story academic building. Building painted gray. Huelse has a photo, a 2012 photo and a nighttime photo are available, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a hill overlooking Reykjavík harbor. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS ICE-076; VIT-030; Admiralty L4503; NGA 18308.

Reykjavík Norðurgarði Light, Reykjavík, April 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Observe the Banana
Skarfagarðs (Skarfagarth)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); green flash every 2 s. 4 m (13 ft) square tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted yellow. Ron Zoeteweij has a closeup photo, a 2011 photo is available, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the Skarfagarðs jetty, which shelters the Viðey ferry terminal in downtown Reykjavik. It appears that the jetty is being extended, so the lighthouse may be relocated soon. Site status unknown. VIT-036; Admiralty L4513.3; NGA 18341.

Vesturland (Central West Coast) Lighthouses

Note: Vesturland is the west coast region north of Reykjavík and south of the northwest fjords regions. A major feature of this region is the Snæfellsnes peninsula, a long finger of volcanic land separating two sounds, the Faxaflói and the Breidafjörður. The peninsula is famous for the Snæfellsjökull volcano and glacier, and in 2001 much of it was set aside as a national park. The volcano is not extinct, but its last eruption was about 1800 years ago.
Akranes Area Lighthouses
Note: Akranes is a town on the north side of the Faxaflói, the bay of Reykjavík, separated from Reykjavík by the Hvalfjörður (Fjord of Whales). Since 1998 a tunnel under the fjord has provided a quick route to the town.
* Krossvík (Akranes) Fremra (Range Front)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; red light occulting once every 3 s. 6 m (20 ft) lantern and gallery mounted atop a square concrete equipment shelter. A red triangular daymark is displayed on a post mounted on the gallery. Entire lighthouse painted yellow. Huelse has a good photo, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. The rear light is on a radio transmission tower. Located on the waterfront on the east side of Akranes, adjacent to an athletic field. Site open, tower closed. VIT-049; Admiralty L4522; NGA 18384.
** Akranes (1)
1918. Inactive since 1947. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) square dumbbell-shaped concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern gray. Anke and Jens have a page with good photos, Piotr Soerfeld has a great photo, Huelse also has a good photo, a 2008 closeup is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Google's street view shows the lighthouse being repainted. Located at the extreme tip of the Skipaskagi (Ships' Cape) peninsula, the lighthouse appears to be endangered by erosion. Parking provided. Site open, tower open but we have no information on the schedule. ARLHS ICE-003.
* Akranes (2)
1947 (station established 1918). Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); two flashes every 20 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 21 m (69 ft) concrete tower with lantern, gallery, and eight buttresses at the base. Tower painted white, lantern red. Pietro Izzo's photo is at right, Anke and Jens have a good page for the station, Huelse also has a good photo, Tibor Polinszky has a 2008 photo, a view of the lighthouse and town is available, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. Located a short distance north of the original lighthouse. Parking provided. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-002; VIT-050; Admiralty L4520; NGA 18372.
Rauðanes
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 8 m (26 ft); flash every 5 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 4 m (13 ft) hexagonal concrete equipment room; the light is shown through a window. Lighthouse painted yellow. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. Located on a sharp promontory on the north side of the Faxaflói about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) southwest of Bogarnes. Probably accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. VIT-057; Admiralty L4529; NGA 18408.

Akranes Light
1947 Akranes Light, Akranes, June 2003
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Pietro Izzo

Þormóðssker (Thormodhssker)
1947. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); one long flash every 20 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 23 m (75 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted concrete with black panels giving the appearance of a black vertical stripe on each face; lantern painted black. Þórdís Björnsdóttir has a 2010 closeup photo, Petur Jonsson has a panoramic photo, the Siglingastofnun has a photo (second photo on the page), and Bing has a satellite view. Located on Thormod's Skerry, a small rocky island in the Faxaflói about 13 km (8 mi) northwest of Akranes. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed. ARLHS ICE-101; VIT-055; Admiralty L4526; NGA 18392.

Snæfellsnes South Shore Lighthouses
* Kirkjuhóll
1953. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); one long (2 s) flash every 10 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 6 m (20 ft) semi-elliptical concrete tower with lantern. The lighthouse is unpainted white concrete. Huelse has a photo, Ólafur Ólafsson has a distant view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located off highway 54 midway on the south shore of the Snæfells peninsula. It's a walk of about 400 m (1/4 mi) to the lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-062; VIT-058; Admiralty L4531; NGA 18416.
* Malarrif (2)
1946 (station established 1917). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); four flashes every 30 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 24 m (79 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with four buttresses, lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red. Huelse has a photo, a 2008 photo is available, Ingolfur Bjargmundsson has a distant view, and Google has a satellite view and very distant street view. Located on the south coast of the Snæfells peninsula about 15 km (9 mi) southwest of Gröf. Accessible by road. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-067; VIT-062; Admiralty L4534; NGA 18412.

Snæfellsnes West End Lighthouses
* Svörtuloft (2)
1931 (station established 1914). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Tower painted yellow, lantern red. Huelse's photo is at right, a 2008 closeup (misidentified as Öndverðarnes) is available, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse and the next one mark the blunt western end of the Snæfells Peninsula. Located about 8 km (5 mi) southwest of Hellissandur. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-091; VIT-063; Admiralty L4538; NGA 18424.
Svörtuloft Light
Svörtuloft Light, Hellissandur
photo copyright Klaus Huelse; used by permission
* Öndverðarnes
1973. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 3 s. 4 m (13 ft) octagonal cast iron lantern centered on a small 1-story square concrete equipment room. Equipment room painted yellow, lantern red. Huelse's photo is at right, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the extreme northwestern tip of the Snæfells Peninsula, about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) north of the Svörtuloft lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-099; VIT-064; Admiralty L4540; NGA 18428.

Snæfellsnes North Shore Lighthouses
Taska (Rif)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 3 s. 13 m (43 ft) round lantern and gallery perched on a slender iron pole. Lantern painted green. Huelse has a photo, Google has a distant street view, and Bing has an indistinct satellite view. Located in the Breidafjörður off the village of Rif, about 6 km (3.5 mi) east of Hellissandur. Accessible only by boat, although there may be a good view from shore. Site open, tower closed. VIT-066; Admiralty L4541.8; NGA 18432.
Krossnes
1926. Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); four flashes every 20 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 9 m (30 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow. Huelse has a photo, Martin Nouza also has a photo, a distant view is available, and Google has a distant satellite view. Located at the end of a promontory 8 km (5 mi) northwest of Grundarfjörður. It appears from Huelse's photo that the lighthouse is on a farm. Site and tower closed. ARLHS ICE-065; VIT-074; Admiralty L4544; NGA 18464.
Höskuldsey (2)
1948 (station established 1926). Active; focal plane 16 m (52 ft); flash every 6 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted yellow. Ingvar Hreinsson has a closeup photo, and Google has a good satellite view. Höskuldsey is a small island in the Breidafjörður about 15 km (9 mi) west of Stykkishölmur. Located on the highest point of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-009; VIT-077; Admiralty L4550; NGA 18476.

Öndverðarnes Light, Hellissandur
photo copyright Klaus Huelse; used by permission
* Súgandisey
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; continuous red light. 4 m (13 ft) round lantern, painted red. A photo and a closeup are available, and Google has a satellite view. The front light is on a post 33 m (108 ft) northeast. Located on a hilltop on the north side of the harbor of Stykkisholmúr. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ICE-114; VIT-080; Admiralty L4554; NGA 18484.
Elliðaey
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 47 m (154 ft); flash every 10 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 9 m (30 ft) triangular cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern painted red. Ingvar Hreinsson has a closeup photo and a second photo, Huelse has a distant photo, another distant view is available, and Google has a satellite view. Elliðaey is a small island in the Breidafjörður about 5 km (3 mi) northwest of Stykkishölmur. Located on the highest point of the island, which is at the east end. Accessible only by boat; there are views from the ferry crossing the Breidafjörður from Stykkishölmur to Flatey and Brjánslaekur. Site status unknown. ARLHS ICE-004; VIT-078; Admiralty L4552; NGA 18480.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Northern Iceland | East: East and South Iceland

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Posted September 11, 2006. Checked and revised May 23, 2014. Lighthouses: 33. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.