Is Iceland the Tip of a Vast Lost Continent?

A vast sunken continent called “Icelandia” may exist under the North Atlantic Ocean, a finding that, if proven, could upend long-standing assumptions about the region’s geological history and inform the search for other submerged continents around the globe.

The proposed continent is estimated to extend for at least 230,000 square miles, reaching Greenland to the north and potentially Europe to the east. Iceland is the uppermost tip of this hidden continental mass, according to researchers led by Gillian Foulger, emeritus professor of geophysics at Durham University…

“The existence of Icelandia needs to be tested,” Foulger and her colleagues said…adding that Icelandia is “a convenient example” to pioneer new methods and hypotheses that ”could be applied to other candidate sunken continents that are common in the oceans.”

With its dramatic landscapes and frequent volcanic eruptions, Iceland is a geological hotspot that has attracted attention from Earth scientists for centuries. The island is located on top of the divergent boundary of the North American and Eurasian continental plates, which cause tectonic turbulence on the island as they move apart.

This small nation, potentially atop a vast submerged continent, is a beautiful place. One of my favorite travel destinations in decades past. It’s been way too long; but, any trip abroad that could be routed through Iceland automatically decided my choices. It’s fierce and wild climate is matched by the independent culture of the folk who live there.

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