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Marine Places

Reykjanes Ridge

The Reykjanes Ridge is the part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises up to the ocean surface to the southwest of Iceland. The ridge clearly displays the parallel ridges and valleys that are left behind on either side of the central rift as the sea floor spreads at a divergent plate boundary. Here, the North American and Eurasian plates are moving apart at 0.5–1 in (1–2 cm) per year. The parallel features become less distinct away from the ridge, as the older crust is draped in sediment in the Reykjanes Basin and Iceland Basin.

Before this rifting started, Greenland and Britain were almost adjacent, connected by a land bridge. The Hebrides and Faeroe Islands, Rockall, and the other banks on the eastern side of the Iceland Basin are the result of basalt floods associated with the early stages of the rift.

Surtsey - Volcanic Islandzoom image
  • Length 930 miles (1,500 km)
  • Height Above Sea Floor 6,500 ft (2,000 m)
  • Rate of Spread 0.75 in (1.8 cm) per year
Iceland - Reykjanes Ridgezoom image