Þingvellir – The Mid-Atlantic Ridge — Geocache of the Week

by MaMiFKa
N 64° 15.325′ W 021° 07.718′

I feel the earth move under my feet                                                                                           I feel the sky tumbling down

Though the sky tumbling down almost certainly spells impending doom, if you feel the earth move under your feet while geocaching, it might simply be a sign that you’re at ground zero for Þingvellir – The Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an EarthCache in Iceland, and our Geocache of the Week.

If you paid attention in geology, you may remember that the earth’s crust consists of several tectonic plates—outer pieces of rigid, shell-like land. The plates sit on and glide over the mantle underneath, an altogether more solid and massive part of the earth’s structure.

Question: What did the North American plate say as it bumped into the Eurasian plate? Answer: Not my fault!

These tectonic plates shift and grate against each other, forming and tearing apart entire continents. One aptly named plate boundary is located in Iceland, where the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate are slowly separating.

The gap between the plates. Image by flatfootdoc

Cache owner MaMiFKa placed this cache in 2009 and it is a classic example of an exemplary EarthCache that incorporates both fun and education.

Tectonic plates work best for eating continental breakfasts. Image by Veerles

Logging requirements for this cache are answers to very specific questions about the geology behind tectonic plates, these two plates in particular, as well as the history of the area.

Until continental drift do us part. Image by uconnhusky

Though there are four geological questions to answer, the educational aspect definitely doesn’t undermine the unique fun offered. Cachers wanting to earn this smiley can hike around and descend into the growing gap between the plates. The most adventurous cachers can even bridge the gap, with one foot on the North American Plate and one on the Eurasian!

Don’t fall in! image by MirekaOne

Since the plates are drifting at a rate of about 2.5 cm (1 in) every year, Iceland currently experiences around 500 earthquakes a week, so you’d better visit this cache soon! Though it is possible to scuba dive at other places along the two tectonic plates, this cache doesn’t yet have the Scuba Gear Required attribute. However once the island grows too large, the whole thing will sink and submerge into the sea, taking this rocking cache with it.

Scuba gear not required…yet! Image by supidupi2001

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.

Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.