Natural wonders, Iceland

Iceland never stops to amaze us, with volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, glaciers, waterfalls, rift valleys and lava fields offering a new view around every corner. It's a land of contrasts. From fire to ice. It's the most sparsely populated country in Europe with over 300 000 people on 103 000 km2, where two-thirds of the population lives in and around the capital - Reykjavik. What's interesting, there is 80 000 horses, Icelandic horses. They are small, but Icelandic people hate if tourists call them a 'ponny' as their breed's weight (which is between 330 and 380kg), bone structure and weight carrying abilities classified them as a horse.

Gullfoss waterfall, known as a 'Golden Waterfalls' is situated in the upper part of River Hvita. It's the Europe's most powerful waterfall and the most popular tourist attraction in the country. Gullfoss is actually two separate waterfalls, the upper one has a drop of 11 meters and the lower one 21 meters into the 2.5 km canyon below, which gives the appearance of vanishing into the earth. Mostly during summer months you may see multiple rainbow at once above the river. We were stunned by the beauty and size of Gullfoss, it is definitely a 'must-see' during a trip to Iceland.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a huge underwater mountain range located along the floor of Atlantic Ocean, which extends to about 16 000 km. This is the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Tectonic plates are the enormous slabs that make up the earth's crust. The North American and Eurasian plates are slowly separating at around 2 cm a year. The tectonic plates are drifting apart and Iceland is probably the only place in the world where the effects are visible above the water surface. To see the rift valley we visited Thingvellir National Park. This enormous geologic rift has created spectacular scenery, including dramatic cliffs and Iceland's largest natural lake. It is also responsible for the volcanic activity which created the island.Iceland is one of the most geologically active places on Earth with more than 15 volcanoes that have erupted in the last century.

Walking along the edge of the North American plate.

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