Between Two Tectonic Plates

October 14, 2016


Photographer: Jim Bucko
Summary Authors: Jim Bucko; Jim Foster

Shown above is a small portion of the rift valley on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near Reykjanesviti, Iceland. It's where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Actually, both plates are drifting away from each other -- at a rate of approximately 1 in (2.5 cm) per year. For scale purposes, the distance between the hardened magma walls here is about 30 ft (10 m). Note that Þingvellir, to the northeast of Reykjanesviti, is the location where the rift valley is most obvious and where most photos are taken.