First version of this article was originally published on 19 June, 2012
MessageToEagle.com - North American Plate is pulling westward away from the Eurasian Plate.
Incredible underwater images clearly show the gap between Europe and United States is widening!
To see how the tectonic plates are moving apart, one has to be prepared for some extreme diving.
This amazing underwater journey shows some of the inevitable changes on our planet.
We also take a look into the future to better understand how these tectonic movements will shape our continents.
Aerial view of the area around Thingvellir, Iceland, showing a fissure zone (in shadow) that
is an on-land exposure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Right of the fissure, the North American Plate is
pulling westward away from the Eurasian Plate (left of fissure). This photograph encompasses the
historical tourist area of Thingvellir, the site of Iceland's first parliament, called the Althing,
founded around the year A.D. 930. Large building
(upper center) is a hotel for visitors. Photograph by Oddur Sigurdsson, National Energy Authority, Iceland
The Silfra Rift, Thingvellir Lake, National Park Thingvellir, Iceland is a dream site for divers. Not only is the visibility excellent,
but this is also the place where the continental plates meet and drift apart. Diving here is an underwater experience few will forget.
Dr. Alexander Mustard, underwater photographer, marine biologist and author have dived 80 feet into the crevice between North America and Eurasia to reveal the stunning landscape.
"The photos show diving in the unique underwater world of Iceland which, like on land, is formed by the volcanic landscape of the country.
Many people visit Iceland to see these features on land but they also continue underwater.
The place is called Silfra Crack and is in Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.
Image credit & copyright: Alexander Mustard
The tectonic plates are pulling apart at about one inch per year. Image credit & copyright: Alexander Mustard
For a scuba diver these are spectacular places to visit - being able to fly through the clear water and explore the
fault lines in three dimensions.
Alexander Mustard took his first pictures underwater at the age of nine. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the most
creative underwater photographers, whose works is admired and respected around the world.
The British-born photographer took the images where the area is is riddled with faults, valleys, volcanoes and hot springs,
caused by the plates pulling apart at about an inch per year.
Image credit & copyright: Alexander Mustard
I have dived all around the world and this is almost certainly the clearest water I have ever been in.
Many people have an experience of vertigo from the sheer walls and clear water, " Alexander Mustard said.
The canyons Silfra, Nes and Nikulasargja, are up to 200ft deep. Image credit & copyright: Alexander Mustard
The National Park Thingvellir has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, both for its cultural & historical significance
as well as natural & geological uniqueness.
Map showing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge splitting Iceland and separating the North American and Eurasian Plates. The map also shows Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, the
Thingvellir area, and the locations of some of Iceland's active volcanoes (red triangles),
including Krafla. Credits: pubs.usgs.gov
Earth's landmasses were not always what they are today. Continents formed as Earth's crustal plates shifted and collided over long periods of time.
This video shows how today's continents are thought to have evolved over the last 600 million years, and where they'll end up in the next 100 million years.
Paleogeographic Views of Earth's History provided by Ron Blakey, Professor of Geology, Northern Arizona University.
The Earth is going to be a very different place 250 million years from now.
Africa is going to smash into Europe as Australia migrates north to merge with Asia. Meanwhile the Atlantic Ocean will probably
widen for a spell before it reverses course and later disappears.
A map of the world as it might appear 250 million years from now. Notice the clumping of most of the world's landmass into one super-continent,
"Pangea Ultima," with an inland sea -- all that's left of the once-mighty Atlantic Ocean. Image courtesy of Dr.
"We don't really know the future, obviously," Scotese said. "All we can do is make predictions of how plate motions will continue,
what new things might happen, and where it will all end up."
Among those predictions: Africa is likely to continue its northern migration, pinching the Mediterranean closed and driving up a Himalayan-scale
mountain range in southern Europe.
The possible appearance of the Earth 50 million years from now. Africa has collided with Europe, closing off the
Mediterranean Sea. The Atlantic has widened, and Australia has migrated north. Image courtesy of Dr.
Africa has been slowly colliding with Europe for millions of years, Scotese said. "Italy, Greece and almost everything in the Mediterranean
is part of (the African plate), and it has been colliding with Europe for the last 40 million years."
That collision has pushed up the Alps and the Pyrenees mountains, and is responsible for earthquakes that occasionally strike Greece and Turkey, Scotese noted.
Australia is also likely to merge with the Eurasian continent.
"Australia is moving north, and is already colliding with the southern islands of Southeast Asia," he continued.
"If we project that motion, the left shoulder of Australia gets caught, and then Australia rotates and collides against Borneo and south China --
sort of like India collided 50 million years ago -- and gets added to Asia."
Meanwhile, the Americas will be moving further away from Africa and Europe as the Atlantic Ocean steadily grows.
The Atlantic sea floor is split from north to south by an underwater mountain ridge where new rock material flows up from Earth's interior.
The two halves of the sea floor slowly spread apart as the ridge is filled with the new material, causing the Atlantic to widen.
The world in the distant future will look entirely different...
Dangerous Fast and Furious - Birth Of Africa's New Ocean
The only places where mid-ocean ridges appear above sea level are Ethiopia and Iceland.
Two new studies into the so-called “plumbing systems” that lie under volcanoes could bring scientists closer to
predicting large eruptions and reveal new information about where magma is stored and how it moves through the geological plumbing network.
6 Surprising Things Falling From The Sky
Stories of strange things falling from the sky date back a long time ago.
Over the years, there have been many bizarre instances recorded when things have fallen from the skies that simply do not belong there.
We have put together a list of some surprising things that fell from the heavens.
These are things you certainly don't expect to fall down on you...
Exploding Lakes - Horrifying Natural Phenomena
Exploding lakes are a terrible natural phenomena and very serious environmental problem.
These lakes are capable of killing thousands, even millions of people and animals living in the region...
Lake Nyos is an active crater lake that formed by an eruption about 5 centuries ago...
Antarctica's Mysterious Lake Untersee And Its Otherworldly Ecosystem
A research team has now returned to Lake Untersee to begin the first real studies of this incredible environment.
This new high-quality image details the conical stromatolites that have formed on top of a boulder at a depth of about 20 meters, other
cones can be seen populating the sloping bottom...
Solar Tornadoes As Wide As Five Earths Discovered
Solar tornadoes several times as wide as the Earth can be generated in the solar atmosphere, say researchers in the UK.
"This is perhaps the first time that such a huge solar tornado is filmed by an imager. Previously much smaller solar
tornadoes were found my SOHO satellite. But they were not filmed," says Dr. Xing Li, of Aberystwyth University.
Who Installed "This Object" At The Bottom Of The Ocean?
Our oceans are full of secrets, and this is one of them.
Deep beneath the waters we find ruins of ancient lost civilizations, wreckage of old ships and planes, and sometimes we come across very strange, unidentified objects.
Looking at this odd construction, one has to ask - Who installed this object at the bottom of the ocean?
Extreme Life In Tough Environment Of Hot Earth Without Oxygen
Once upon a time, Earth was still a hot, violent place at this time, with volcanic activity dominating the early Earth. The sky was cloudy and grey,
keeping the heat in despite the sun being weaker than today.
The water temperature of the oceans was much higher at 40-50 degrees (the temperature of a hot bath) and circulating currents were very strong.
Living Earth Simulator - Supercomputer Predicting The Future
In Douglas Adams book the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy we encounter a machine called Deep Thought. It is the most powerful computer ever built. Deep Thought is capable of answering questions
concerning life, the Universe, and simply everything. Now scientists are planning to create a similar machine. It is called the Living Earth Simulator (LES).
New Evidence Links Earth's Extreme Weather To Human-Caused Global Warming
The past decade has been one of unprecedented weather extremes. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany argue that the high incidence of extremes is not merely accidental.
From the many single events a pattern emerges. At least for extreme rainfall and heat waves the link with human-caused global warming is clear...
An Incredible Geological Phenomena
Earth is an amazing planet and our nature is full of wonders. We have previously written about incredible singing plants.
This time we would like to focus our readers' attention on another amazing geological phenomena, namely so-called growing stones.
It is difficult to image that stones can really grow, but these stones seem to be alive!
Amazing Phenomenon Of Singing Plants
Plants are very much alive. Not only do they dislike human noise but they also posses the capacity to learn and communicate.
Perhaps even more astonishing is that plants can also make music.
Have you ever heard the incredible music of the plants? Plants can actually sing and compose music
and listening to it is truly beautiful and relaxing!
Easter Island's Statues Reveal Bodies
Covered With Unknown Ancient Petroglyphs
Standing some 2,000 miles west of Chile, on the Easter Island, 887 mysterious giant statues have intrigued scientists and the public for years.
For a long time it was believed that the massive statutes consisted of just the heads. Now,
scientists can reveal remarkable photos showing that the bodies of the statues go far deeper underground than just about anyone had imagined...
Where Is The Hottest Place On Earth?
There are many extreme places on our wonderful Earth.
Among them is the hottest place on Earth. But where exactly is it?
To answer that question is not as easy as it might seem.
This question is in fact still widely debated because, how the temperature is measured plays an
important role when scientists attempt to decide what place is hotter than the other.
"Something Is Seriously Wrong:
Too Many Strong Earthquakes", Scientist Says
Does a supernatural seismic activity threaten our planet?
Apparently, something unknown has triggered a "terrible and global domino", according to scientists who observe recent earthquake reports.
Seismologists recognize that what happens to the seismic activity goes beyond the level generally considered as normal...
Amazing Alien Landscape On Earth - Dallol Volcano
If you want to experience an alien landscape it is not necessary to travel to another planet.
In fact, there are places on Earth where the landscape is truly bizarre, almost extraterrestrial many would say.
Looking at this amazing scenery, one can easily ask - Are we still on Earth?
Giant Underwater Canyon Zhemchug
Can Only Be Seen Entirely From Space
We continue to explore amazing places on our beautiful planet.
This time we take a journey deep beneath the oceans. Hidden beneath all that water are some of the biggest natural formations on earth.
Deep underwater we find the longest mountain ranges, the tallest volcanoes and the deepest canyons.
We might think that Grand Canyon is big, but it is nothing compared to Zhemchug that is so huge it can only be seen entirely from space!