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Plate margin rift

Plate margin rift

E350/0070

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Credit

BERNHARD EDMAIER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BERNHARD EDMAIER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Plate margin rift in Thingvellir, Iceland. This fissure marks part of the mid-Atlantic ridge, a constructive plate margin running down the Atlantic. In the north the ridge forms the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. These plates are moving apart along the ridge, allowing magma from beneath the Earth's crust to well up as volcanic lava, forming new land and ocean floor. Iceland is entirely volcanic in origin, and is one of the few places where the mid-Atlantic ridge can be seen above sea level.

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