A Lost World? Atlantis-Like Landscape Discovered
By Wynne Parry | livescience.com
This image of the ancient buried landscape discovered deep beneath the sediment of the North Atlantic Ocean was made using sound waves bounced off different rock layers. An ancient meandering riverbed is visible.
Buried deep beneath the sediment of the North Atlantic Ocean lies an ancient, lost landscape with furrows cut by rivers and peaks that once belonged to mountains. Geologists recently discovered this roughly 56-million-year-old landscape using data gathered for oil companies.
"It looks for all the world like a map of a bit of a country onshore," said Nicky White, the senior researcher. "It is like an ancient fossil landscape preserved 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) beneath the seabed."
So far, the data have revealed a landscape about 3,861 square miles (10,000 square km) west of the Orkney-Shetland Islands that stretched above sea level by almost as much as 0.6 miles (1 km). White and colleagues suspect it is part of a larger region that merged with what is now Scotland and may have extended toward Norway in a hot, prehuman world.
History beneath the seafloor
The discovery emerged from data collected by a seismic contracting company using an advanced echo-sounding technique. High pressured air is released from metal cylinders, producing sound waves that travel to the ocean floor and beneath it, through layers of sediment. Every time these sound waves encounter a change in the material through which they are traveling, say, from mudstone to sandstone, an echo bounces back. Microphones trailing behind the ship on cables record these echoes, and the information they contain can be used to construct three-dimensional images of the sedimentary rock below, explained White, a geologist at the University of Cambridge in Britain.
The team, led by Ross Hartley, a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, found a wrinkly layer 1.2 miles (2 km) beneath the seafloor — evidence of the buried landscape, reminiscent of the mythical lost Atlantis.
The researchers traced eight major rivers, and core samples, taken from the rock beneath the ocean floor, revealed pollen and coal, evidence of land-dwelling life. But above and below these deposits, they found evidence of a marine environment, including tiny fossils, indicating the land rose above the sea and then subsided — "like a terrestrial sandwich with marine bread," White said.
The burning scientific question, according to White, is what made this landscape rise up, then subside within 2.5 million years? "From a geological perspective, that is a very short period of time," he said.
The giant hot ripple
He and colleagues have a theory pointing to an upwelling of material through the Earth's mantle beneath the North Atlantic Ocean called the Icelandic Plume. (The plume is centered under Iceland.)
The plume works like a pipe carrying hot magma from deep within the Earth to right below the surface, where it spreads out like a giant mushroom, according to White. Sometimes the material is unusually hot, and it spreads out in a giant hot ripple.
The researchers believe that such a giant hot ripple pushed the lost landscape above the North Atlantic, then as the ripple passed, the land fell back beneath the ocean.
This theory is supported by other new research showing that the chemical composition of rocks in the V-shaped ridges on the ocean floor around Iceland contains a record of hot magma surges like this one. Although this study, led by Heather Poore, also one of White's students, looked back only about 30 million years, White said he is hopeful ongoing research will pinpoint an older ridge that recorded this particular hot ripple.
Because similar processes have occurred elsewhere on the planet, there are likely many other lost landscapes like this one. Since this study was completed, the researchers have found two more recent, but less spectacular, submerged landscapes above the first one, White said.
Both studies appear today (July 10) in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Lost city of Atlantis, swamped by tsunami, found?
Could Sardinia be the lost island of Atlantis?
Atlantis, Egypt, and Ireland?
The First Eden - Part One
Latest News from our Front Page
Turkey's Erdogan threatened to flood Europe with migrants: Greek website
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan threatened in November to flood Europe with migrants if European Union leaders did not offer him a better deal to help manage the Middle East refugee crisis, a Greek news website said on Monday.
Publishing what it said were minutes of a tense meeting last November, the euro2day.gr financial news website revealed deep mutual irritation and distrust ...
Will Denmark Be The First Islamic Nation In Europe?
Daily headlines prove that Europe is bursting at the seams with Islamists attempting to establish Sharia law and homegrown terror plots. France is ablaze with radicals, ISIS threatens they will send Spain back to the times of the Ottoman Empire, and Britain is much too concerned with appeasing Muslims that they are doing away with their own citizens’ free speech.
'Hamilton' musical: All American founders non-White, but evil King George. I hate musicals!
‘Hamilton’, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, is being performed on Broadway.
You know it’s going to have political undertones, when you read that the first act is titled: “Immigrants : We get the job done!”
In addition to Alexander Hamilton, Miranda’s musical also casts Aaron Burr, George Washington, James Madison, John Laurens, Marquis Gilbert ...
Ted Nugent Posts "Anti-Semitic" Facebook Message About Gun Control
Rock musician Ted Nugent posted a message about “who is really behind gun control” on Facebook that the Anti-Defamation League slammed as "anti-Semitic".
More: ADL claims 26% of all world population is “anti-semitic”
The ADL and domestic spying: Roy Bullock case revisited
"Antisemitism on rise across Europe in worst times since the Nazis" says "expert" to the Guardian
In the post, Nugent shares a ...
Illegal immigrant is arrested over murder of American nanny in Austria after she took him in to stop him being deported - and is revealed to have raped underage girl
An illegal immigrant has been arrested over the murder of an American nanny who had given him shelter at her Vienna apartment.
The 24-year-old Gambian had been wanted by police since the death of Lauren Mann, 25, from Grand Junction, Colorado last month.
He was arrested on Thursday in Bern, Switzerland, at an asylum center there after his mobile phone use was ...
|More News » |