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Silfra Fissure: Iceland’s two Tectonic Plates!

by Aadarsh Jain

Silfra Fissure: Iceland’s two Tectonic Plates!

May 31, 2021

The earth's crust consists of huge floating rock plates known as tectonic plates. There are seven big plateaux and then a few of lesser ones that grind and bump together, frequently shaking things like earthquakes, growing mountains and erupting volcanoes.

You can actually dive between two of the biggest tectonic plates in Iceland’s Taylingvellir National Park. Here, up to 2 cm each year the North American and Eurasian plates gently migrate away. Scientifically, this form of plate contact is known as a diverging limit. A big lake, known as ̄ringvallavatn, was filled in Iceland section of the rift due to the plate split — and between plates you may dive.

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A big lake, known as ̄ringvallavatn, was filled in Iceland section of the rift due to the plate split — and between plates you may dive.

Diving Between Two Tectonic Plates

This Icelandic natural crack enables divers to swim directly between two volatile tectonic plates. The rift is in the divide between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia, where an incomplete seam enables explorers to plunge into aquatic profundities in the middle of Earth. The pristine waters of the lake in the National Park of the Town of San Juan draw tourists from all over the world to the unique impression of diving among worlds, which can frequently reach 300 feet between lava rock cliffs. The fun fact is divers can touch both of the tectonic plates while diving.

Silfra’s waters are also unusual. Because there are no rivers that flow into Þingvallavatn Lake, the water gently extrudes through the porous tectonic rock underneath the lake’s surface. This procedure filters the water, resulting in a lake that is not only very clear but also somewhat safe to drink. Water can not move quickly through stone, no matter how porous it is, therefore it takes 50-100 years for the liquid to become part of the lake. Each drop of water in Silfra has probably been there for over a century.

Why Diving In Silfra Is A Great Experience

1. You have the unique opportunity to stand between two continents, North America and Europe!! Every year, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge causes the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates to drift by nearly 6mm.

2. Due to the movement of tectonic plates, various fissures have formed, one of which, named Silfra, is a safe and convenient site for divers to see this incredible occurrence where they can touch both tectonic plates.

3. You’re in crystal clear water with a visibility of roughly 100 metres.

4. Water trickles through porous rocks in the same way it does above, resulting in the purest form of glacial water reaching the Silfra fissure.

However, architecture is starting to catch up; trails are now properly designated, and a large number of rangers patrol the region to ensure that they are followed. Snorkeling and diving regulations are constantly tightening, both to reduce human effect on Silfra and to ensure tourist safety, and tourists are now discouraged from throwing money into the sea.
In an ideal world, Ingvellir would be a wonderfully conserved site that inspires you to take the principles of natural beauty and cultural preservation back home with you.
Although tourism has had an impact on it, its history, culture, geology, and natural beauty indicate that it still has this potential.

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