Iceland: Where Continents Meet

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.

The beautiful volcanic landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula of Iceland
The beautiful volcanic landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula
The Worlds Tectonic Plates
The Worlds Tectonic Plates (Image Source: U.S. Geological Survey)

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!

Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland
Out of this world
Eurasian Plate Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland
Welcome to the Eurasian Plate
Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland The Bridge Between Two Continents
The Bridge Between Two Continents
The Bridge Between Two Continents viewed from the Eurasian Plate side Iceland
The Bridge Between Two Continents viewed from the Eurasian Plate side
Bridge Between Continents Iceland
Bridge Between Continents
North American Tectonic Plate Iceland
Welcome to the North American Plate!
The Bridge Between Two Continents viewed from the North American Plate side Iceland
The Bridge Between Two Continents viewed from the North American Plate side
Where continents collide. Looking across to the Eurasian Plate from the North American Plate Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland
Where continents collide. Looking across to the Eurasian Plate from the North American Plate
Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland
The Reykjanes Peninsula as vast open areas to explore

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 Iceland
A rift between two continents
The Bridge Between Two Continents - Reyjanes Iceland
The tectonic plates drift 2cm apart each year
The Bridge Between Two Continents - Reyjanes Iceland canyon
They picked a great place for this symbolic bridge – the scenery is stunning!
The Bridge Between Two Continents - Reyjanes Iceland canyon
This canyon symbolises the divide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates
Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland
It was cold and windy but such scenery has to be admired!
Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland
Iceland has so much to offer in vast contrasts of scenery and landscapes

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!

Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland
Looking towards the east and the Eurasian Plate

 

 

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4 Comments Add yours

    1. Deano says:

      Thanks! Beautiful place

  1. Trevor James says:

    Deano you have made it sound and look very interesting with your storyline and photos. Valuable knowledge for any traveler. Will get to Iceland one day.

    1. Deano says:

      Worth the trip for sure Trev. Beautiful place!

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