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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

The bridge between continents

Updated: Apr 7, 2023


The bridge between two tectonic plates
The bridge between two tectonic plates

For anyone slightly interested in geology, the Reykjanes peninsula is like a candy store or a wonderland. This small area is packed with samples of how the planet behaves over time, i.e., throughout tens of thousands of years. Here you will find volcanoes, mountains, mountain rigs, various lava, hot springs, craters, boiling clays, ravines, rhyolites, fissures, geothermal activity, high-temperature geothermal systems and the list goes on. You will also find power plants that take advantage of the hot water and places to take a bath in a geothermal pool, like the Blue Lagoon.


The bridge is at Reykjanes Peninusla in Iceland
The bridge is at Reykjanes Peninusla in Iceland

A bridge where North America and Europe drift apart

The bridge at Reykjanes Peninsula takes you between two tectonic plates
The bridge at Reykjanes Peninsula takes you between two tectonic plates

The Reykjanes peninsula is not only a spectacular place to see and a great place to understand the ongoing and everlasting struggle between surfacing magma and the many forces of nature but also a home of a small part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It is the only place where the longest mountain ridge on the planet that stretches from the Arctic to Antarctica is not under sea level. Instead, the ridge is where two tectonic plates meet and seem to agree to drift apart. And here, you can walk between the two tectonic plates on a bridge where North America and Europe drift apart.


A place to remember if you visit the Geopark

Bridge from America to Europe in Iceland
Bridge from America to Europe

The canyon was formed by this movement and drifts two centimeters per. year. If you walk the 18 meters long bridge, you are practically walking from one tectonic plate to another. From the Eurasian to the American. The drifting is so slow that you will probably only feel the drift if, of course, the plates decided to take a fight and send us an earthquake. In September 2015, the Reykjanes Geopark became the 66th Geopark in the world and is a part of the UNESCO program.


How to find and visit the bridge


From Reykjavík, you drive the same road nr. 41, like you, are going to the airport. Instead of driving straight to Keflavík, you take a turn on road nr. 43, the same road that takes you to the Blue Lagoon and the town of Grindavík. Just before you enter the town, you take a turn right or west on road nr. 425 and drive for about 20 kilometers (13 miles). Along the way, you can stop at Gunnuhver's geothermal hot spot.




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