Bridging Continents

Although Þingvellir is the most spectacular example of the tectonic activity to be found in Iceland, the day following our visit there we set off to find another less well-known site which sees the split in the world re-appear on the surface in the middle of a jaw-dropping volcanic landscape on the Reykjanes peninsula to the west of Reykjavik.

Driving through the desolate lava fields of south-west Iceland is a surreal and unforgettable experience.  Tiny, isolated villages cling to the coastline of the peninsula while inland there is next to no evidence of human presence – just seemingly endless, twisted, blasted landscapes reminiscent of the moon’s surface.

Suddenly, in the middle of this wasteland a small, easily missed signpost points you in the direction of the ‘Bridge Between Continents.’  The bridge itself is nothing to write home about but provides visitors with the unique experience of walking across the divide between two of the planet’s great tectonic plates and the whole area is such a wonderful mix of barren lava, vegetation seemingly struggling to maintain a foothold and black volcanic sand that it is well worth a visit…

Blasted
The amazing volcanic landscape of Reykjanes peninsula.
Colours
The volcanic rocks come in many colours and pitted, twisted shapes.
Rift
The rift between continents makes a reappearance.
Leif
The bridge crossing the growing gap is known as Leif the Lucky’s bridge to commemorate the exploits of Leif Eriksson, the Icelander who travelled to North America half a millennium before Columbus.

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20 thoughts on “Bridging Continents

  1. Great set; haven’t been there; thanks ‘maatje’. I like the bridge because it’s not an oversized spectacle; just what it needs. Would be nice if the focus of the bridge was on a sliding or rolling construction, prepared to handle the movement of the continents. Cheers!

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    1. Cheers Harrie. To be honest I know nothing about the construction of the bridge. I just know I loved the weirdness of the landscape and the black sand. All that vulcanism is so alien to most of us.

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    1. It was all a bit hectic but hiring a car was the only real choice in such a big and empty country and we certainly used it doing well over 1,000km in two days.

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    1. I must agree but stick around cos we went through some landscapes later the same day that could’ve been from the Scottish Highlands. Iceland is just so incredibly varied 😀

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  2. Beautiful pictures…Beautiful area; one we hadn’t had time to visit during our stay in Iceland.

    Not your fault but I am a bit disappointed that it is assumed that only the US are part of the American continent…I know you can say that the EU flag doesn’t represent the entire European continent but at least it has many of the countries. The US doesn’t truly own the entire American continent!!! (Suzanne)

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    1. I’m very aware of that Suzanne and it annoyed me too bu tthen again Iceland ain’t in the EU (nor is Norway for that matter). It’s a headline I suppose :-/

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  3. Great photos and what a fantastic landscape. As a trained geologist I’d be like a kid in a toy shop!

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    1. Didn’t know you are a rock monkey. Now I feel all embarrassed aboot babbling on aboot tectonic plates and all that sexy geological stuff but none of us are without our faults (cringe!) 😀 You’ve never visited Iceland?

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      1. No – you were right about the tectonic plates. Iceland is the one place where the Mid-Atlantic ridge comes to the surface – where you can actually walk through it. It’s a place i would dearly love to visit. And ‘rock monkey’ – fair description! 🙂

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          1. Oh yes – in fact they are at the junction of three tectonic plates – North American to the west, and Eurasian and African plates to the east of the Mid-Atlantic ridge (and north and south of the Azores respectively).

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