The Island is Splitting

The gap between the Eurasian (L) and North American (R) plates with the North Atlantic in the distance.

The crust of the Earth is broken in plates that move across the mantle. Some plates are moving towards each other creating spots where one plate is being forced under another plate - a subduction zone. This is where many - though not all - mountain ranges come from.

Others are where the plates are sliding against each other. One of the most well-known is the San Andreas fault. Here, tension builds as the plates grind against each other until there is a slip and the tension is released. 

A third type is where two different plates are pulling away from each other.  If you look at a raised relief map of the Earth, you can see a serpentine line in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean; the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is where there are different plates pulling away from each other.

Similarly, if you look at a map of the fault lines between the plates around the world, you will see that there is one that runs right through the country of Iceland. It follows the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. There is a location on the Reykjanes Peninsula along the southwest corner of the country that marks the spot where the two plates are pulling apart.

Looking inland from the Bridge Between the Continents.

When you walk up the path from the parking lot to the bridge, you are on the Eurasian Plate. There are signs on both sides of the bridge showing what tectonic plate you are on.

Map highlighting the Eurasian Plate.

After getting to the other side of the bridge, you are welcomed to the North American plate.

Sign welcoming to the North American Plate.

Who would have thought you could walk from Europe to North America via a foot bridge.


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