Our aim today was to see first-hand the rugged natural beauty of inland Iceland so we hopped on a small, comfortable bus with 13 other like-minded people and headed for the captivating destination of the Þingvellir National
Park where Iceland’s stark geological processes are playing out right in front of you. It’s geological traits are quite as fascinating.Iceland is the only place in the world where the Mid Atlantic rift (North American tectonic plate and Eurasian plate are separating), is above sea-level, and nowhere can you see the edges of both plates as clearly as in Þingvellir. We walked along side both of these plates. That was just mind-blowing. I love physical geography so this was right up my alley. The tectonic plates move apart at approximately 2.5cm a year and have done for millenniums. The effects of this movement are very clear within the park. Lava fields fill the valley, from magma that welled up as the continents spread. The whole area is littered with ravines ripped open by centuries of earthquakes. The lake, Silfra, is pristinely clean and crystal clear with visibility of 100m and a temperature of 2 degrees Celcius and is regarded as one of the top
dive places in the world.
We left unable to fathom the enormority of what we had just experienced and headed to see Strokkur Geyser do its erupting. It is a fountain geyser located in a geothermal area beside the Hvítá River
and is one of Iceland's most famous geysers erupting once every 6–10 minutes to a height of 15–20m. We waited and we witnessed.
We were to be wowed to a higher level upon seeing and hearing Gullfoss, the awe inspiring waterfall. It is the waters of the Hvita River that feeds the falls. It turns sharply to the right and flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages of, by my reckoning 10-12m and about 20m into a crevice approximately 30m deep. The crevice, again just from my observation, is about 18-20m wide and continues perpendicular to the flow of the river. It was flowing fast and powerfully so the amount of cubic metres of water running down the waterfall would have been huge. As we first approached the falls the edge was obscured from view so that it appeared that the river simply vanishes into the earth but upon approaching
the edge we saw the plunge and the twist into the ravine below.
Iceland is an interesting and unique place. It does not have any insects except for the bumble bee and hornet. It has no flies, no cockroaches, no crickets, no mosquitoes, no ants as well as no snakes and no biting spiders. Horse is eaten throughout Iceland as well as the Puffin. Mmmm! Sheep is their primary and most important livestock, for meat and wool. The horses are the purest in the world as no horse from another country is imported or allowed into Iceland. If a horse leaves Iceland for competition, it is never allowed to return.
We returned tired but fulfilled with our experiences.
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