Fissures Waterfalls

The bingvellir plain is precariously situated on a tectonic plate boundary - here, North America and Europe are tearing away from each other at a rate of 2mm per year. As a result, the plain is scarred by a series of dramatic fissures, including the great rift Alman-nagja. A broad track follows the fault from the multimedia centre on top of the cliffs to the plain below.

The river Oxara cuts across the rift, tumbling towards the lake in a series of pretty cascades. The most impressive is Oxararfoss, hidden away behind the eastern lip of the fault. The pool Drekkingarhylur was used to drown women found guilty of infanticide, adultery or other serious crimes.

There are other smaller fissures on the eastern edge of the plain. During the 17th century nine men accused of witchcraft were burnt at the stake in Brennugja (Burning Chasm). Nearby are the fissures of Flosagja (named after a slave who jumped his way to freedom) and Nikulasargja (after a drunken sheriff discovered dead in the water). The southern end of Nikulasargja is known as Peningagja (Chasm of Coins) for the thousands of coins tossed into it by visitors.

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