The great tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia meet at the Reykjanes Peninsula on the south-west coast of Iceland. These plates are continuously drifting apart and shift an estimated 2 centimetres a year (that sounds slow but 2 metres every 100 years is quite a bit!). This shift in plates creates the canyons and crevices that can be found across the peninsula and as the North American Plate slowly drifts to the west, the Atlantic Ocean steadily widens.
In Winter the Reykjanes Peninsula is a snowy, icy, windswept place but with a bit of sunshine about it is very beautiful. The Bridge Between Two Continents is a scenic and symbolic place that lays across a canyon formed by the movement of these continental tectonic plates. The cool thing about this area is that you can stand on both the Eurasian and North American plates!
200 million years ago the North American Plate was joined with the African, Eurasian and South American plates. This was before the super continent Pangaea started to drift apart. It is believed the Atlantic Ocean began to form 135 million years ago when the African and South American plates started to drift apart. The North Atlantic is much younger as the North American and Eurasian plates didn’t start to drift apart until a mere 65 million years ago!
Today the Eurasian Plate is the largest on Earth and stretches far to the east, right across to the coast of Eastern Siberian in Russia! 75% of the world’s population lives on the Eurasian Plate.
The Bridge Between Two Continents was opened in July 2002 and is designed to illustrate the shift in the tectonic plates. It is 18 metres long and 6 metres high. A cool place in more ways than one!