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A new geological theory says Iceland may be on top of a sinking continent

A new geological theory says Iceland may be on top of a sinking continent

Iceland may be the last exposed remains of a continent roughly the size of Texas that sank into the Atlantic about ten million years ago, according to a new hypothesis proposed by an international team of geophysicists and geologists.

This theory runs counter to old ideas about the formation of Iceland and the North Atlantic, but researchers say it explains a lot. Geological features of the ocean floor Like why the Earth’s crust under Iceland is thicker than it should be.

Experts not affiliated with the study remain skeptical about the existence of the continent called Iceland based on data collected so far.

However, if geological research proves this theory, the very radical idea of ​​a sinking continent could have consequences for the ownership of any fuel found on the ocean floor, which under international law belongs to the state that can prove it Your continental crust stretches so far.

“Following in the footsteps of Warren B. The New Theory,” said Gillian Folger, lead author of the ‘Iceland’ chapter of the new book.

“Some of them in the west and east are now submerged under water, but it is higher than it should be. […] If the sea level drops by 600 metres, we will see more land above the ocean surface.” She said is to the Live Science portal.

Folger explained that the Atlantic region was once the completely dry land that formed the supercontinent Pangea from about 335 million to 175 million years ago.

For a long time, geologists believed that the North Atlantic basin formed as Pangea began to separate 200 million years ago, and that Iceland formed about 60 million years ago on top of a volcanic plume near the middle of the ocean.

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But Folger and his colleagues proposed a different theory: that oceans began to form south and north of Iceland – rather than west and east – with the separation of Pangea. Instead, these areas remained associated with what is now Greenland and Scandinavia.

“People have a very simplified idea that a tectonic plate is kind of like a plate: it splits in two and moves away,” the author said. “But it’s more like pizza, or a piece of art made of different materials — some fabric here and some pottery there, so different pieces have different strengths.”

According to the new theory, Pangea did not split cleanly, and The lost continent of Iceland It remained intact as a strip of land at least 300 km wide above the surface of the water until 10 million years ago. Later, the eastern and western fringes of Iceland also sank, leaving only modern Iceland from it.

Fossils have shown that some plants that spread through seeds are identical in Greenland and Scandinavia. The authors said that this evidence supports the idea that a large area of ​​dry land used to connect the two regions. However, geologists do not yet know any evidence of animal fossils on the lost continent.