You Can Dive Between Two Continents in Iceland’s Silfra Fissure

Silfra snorkelling, Iceland
Silfra snorkelling, Iceland | © Francisco Antunes/Flickr
At Iceland’s Þingvellir National Park, there are many ways to get to know this incredible landscape. Snorkelling or diving between the two tectonics plates of North America and Eurasia is one of them. The fissure between the two plates is called Silfra, and it offers an incredible visual depth. It’s also the only place in the world where divers can touch two plates at once. The national park is a fitting cultural place for such geological features as it is the site of the world’s first democracy by early settlers in the 900s.
Amazing freshwater dive at Silfra Canyon © majiedquasem/Flickr

Outfitted in full-body drysuits, divers longing to dip beneath the surface of this most frigid water are risking hypothermia, gear freezing, and even death. For many enthusiasts, the temperature is well worth the risk at the prospect of diving into the 206-foot deep Silfra fissure at the intersection of the Eurasian and North American continents, which can only be done in this unique landscape.

The stunning view is remarkably clear, allowing divers and snorkelers the opportunity to see the way in which the sunlight interacts with the canyon’s rock faces the further into the depths you dive. The landscape of rocky folds turns into a scene from an otherworldly sci-fi thriller.

The true history of the rocks actually tells quite a story: they are the newest rocks formed on planet Earth. And the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, of which the Silfra fissure is part of, is the longest mountain range in the world. While most of it is underwater, of course, parts of it are pushed above sea level to create prominent islands such as Iceland itself. The rate of continental drift in the area of Silfra is two centimetres per year, creating a tension in the landscape, the outcome of which is the country’s earthquakes and volcanoes that create new fissures along the tectonic ridge.