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Located in the Thingvallavatn Lake in the Thingvellir National Park in Iceland, Silfra is part of the Atlantic rift – the dividing line between the continents of Europe and America. It’s a huge crack in the earth’s surface, where the continental plates meet and which is slowing widening by about two centimeters per year. In the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean this crack is mainly unseen, but at Silfra, clear melt water of Icelandic glaciers make the rift visible.

The amazing visibility and accessibility makes Silfra a popular diving spot. Divers and snorkelers can float between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates and at places, can actually touch both continents at the same time. The visibility is extraordinary at nearly 100 meters. The reasons for this outstanding clarity are two-fold. First, the water is cold - 2º and 4ºC – and remains at this temperature all year round. The coldness keeps the water free of aquatic life. Secondly, the water itself is of the purest form. It begins as distilled water when the leading edge of the glacier melts high up on the Hofsjokull mountain, 50 km away. This water then disappears and runs underground, to emerge once again in the Thingvellir national park. On its journey it is constantly filtered by porous lava rock, until is becomes so pure that it can be drunk without any form of treatment.

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© Amusing Planet, 2013.


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