Two plates that pass in the night
Thingvellir Travel Blog› entry 11 of 15 › view all entries
I climb in the bus with the two Swedes, who are taking the rest of the day's tour with me. On the way to our next stop, our guide shares with us facts about the island and funny stories, too.
- It is a law that church doors must fase East.
- All water in Iceland smells of sulfur.
- Iceland owes it's independance from Denmark to the imminent German invasion in World War II.
- Most homes in Iceland have metal siding as the tallest tree here is a birch variant that grows to just above a meter tall.
We made out stop in Thingvellir, the valley where the North American and European plates are moving apart from one another. It's also the home of the first Icelandic parliament founded in 930 and remained until 1789.
Iceland is the only spot where the Mid-Atlantic ridge is above sea-level. The plates are moving apart while also pushing Iceland up farther each and every year. The mountain ranges here were once side by side, now many kilometers apart. There are fissures that lead into the lake (Iceland's largest)and where they widen, the depth is over 100 meters deep and visibility is to the same level.
The guide told us a story of a group of Swedish divers who came to Iceland to dive this site as it is one of the 5 best in the world. Our guide was the one who took them out on the excursion. On of the group entered the water by fallin off the boat backwards (normal) only to come back up and into the boat moments later. He couldn't speak about what had happened until they were on the return to Reykjavik but, he happened to have a fear of heights and the clarity of 100 meters (300 feet) gave him the same sensations as the same amount of height. True story!
We were about to walk about abit and see the National Park and the rift where the plates come together. I walked the narrow path between the two plates. A really unusual feeling to be standing between to continents. I had to have a souvenir so, I chose a rock from the North American plate and one from the Eurasian plate for my person collection.
It is such a strange thing, to be there and see first hand how our earth is changing, continuously.
That was quick stop, so, back in the bus.