The Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) is a submarine ridge located along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, which wraps around the globe for more than 65,000 km. It is the longest and the most extensive chain of mountains on earth, but being located underwater, more than 90% of this mountain range remains hidden from view. There are only a few places on earth, where it juts out of the surface of the ocean, in the form of a few islands, one of which is Iceland. The ridge goes directly across Iceland and can be seen at Thingvellir National Park or the Reykjanes peninsula.
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is the boundary where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet and move apart from each other
The ridge was discovered in the 1950s. Its discovery led to the theory of seafloor spreading and general acceptance of Wegener’s theory of continental drift. The MAR separates the North American Plate from the Eurasian Plate in the North Atlantic, and the South American Plate from the African Plate in the South Atlantic. These plates are still moving apart, so the Atlantic is growing at the ridge, at a rate of about 2.5 cm per year in an east-west direction.
Iceland’s formation is closely linked to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and its current unique geology and geothermal features are due to the tectonic activity along the ridge. Iceland is situated directly above the ridge’s westernmost section. The movement of these plates creates new oceanic crust and causes volcanic and seismic activity, which is why Iceland is a land of active volcanoes, hot springs, and rugged terrain. The process of Iceland’s formation began around 25 million years ago when the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates began to move apart.
It is a massive underwater mountain range that runs through the middle of the Atlantic Ocean