Silfra Fissure – One of the best dive sites in the world
The Silfra fissure is located in the heart of Thingvellir national park in SouthWest Iceland. Silfra is often voted one of the best cold water dive sites and for a good reason; here you can find some of the clearest water in the world with visibility extending 100 meters!
The water in Silfra origins from Iceland´s second largest glacier, Langjökull. In the summer time the glacier melts a bit, and the melt water sinks underground in to the lava caves underneath. The water now starts it´s 50 year long journey through the underground lava fields. At a speed of about 1 meters per year, the water slowly makes it way from the glacier towards the Silfra fissure. This gentle tilting process results in crystal clear glacier. The visibility in Silfra exceeds 100 meters almost every day of the year, making it a true underwater visibility wonderland.
Cold is just a state of mind!
The constant flow of fresh glacier water keeps the water temperature in Silfra at 2-4 degrees C all year round. It is a little bit cold, but that´s a price we are very happy to pay in exchange for the clearest and most beautiful water in the world. Good quality cold water equipment enables us to comfortably dive and snorkel through the Silfra fissure. Warm undergarment, a high quality dry suit, hood and gloves are provided on all our tours and courses. If you are still worries about the water temperate, just remember that cold is just a state of mind!
The Tectonic Plates of North America and Europe
Silfra fissure, as well as Thingvellir valley, is the result of the tectonic drift of the North American and European plates. This tectonic plate boundary is part of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, stretching from Arctic in the North to Antarctic in the South. It is part of the longest mountain range in the world. Only here in Iceland the tectonic plate boundary is rising up over sea level, cutting straight through Thingvellir national park. It enables us to walk, snorkel and dive right in between two tectonic plates. Each year the tectonic plates in Iceland move about 2 cm apart building up tension in the surface resulting in earthquakes that form fissures and cracks around the area. Over time, these earthquakes both deepen and widen Silfra fissure.
Silfra´s different parts
Silfra is normally divided into four main areas; Silfra Deep Crack, Silfra hall, Silfra cathedral and Silfra lagoon. Each sector has it own features that can only be enjoyed from underneath the surface. The deepest open water part of Silfra is around 30 meters. Underneath the fissure there are lava tubes and caves systems reaching a dept of about 60 meters. The Silfra fissure is about 400 meters long. It takes around 30 minutes to slowly snorkel or dive through the fissure. The last part, called the Silfra lagoon is where you can swim around and explore if you are not prepared to leave the water just yet.
On a snorkel tour we typically spend around 30-45 minutes in the water. When diving each dive is around 30 minutes. Maximum depth of our dive tours are 18 meters, but most of the dive is spend at shallower depth. For more information about our dive and snorkelling tours to Silfra, please have a look here: