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.

Caution: Driver may be surfing the Web

Chrysler is poised to offer in its 2009 models a new entertainment option for the children: Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity. The problem is that the entire car becomes a hotspot. The signals won’t be confined to the Nintendos in the rear seat; front-seat occupants will be able to stay online, too.

Bad idea. As drivers, we have done poorly resisting the temptation to move our eyes away from the road to check e-mail or send text messages with our cellphones. Now add laptops…

On Chrysler’s Web site, Keefe Leung, a manager in the company’s advanced connectivity technology group, explains the rationale for the service: “People are connected in their lives everywhere today. They’re connected at home, they’re connected at the office, they’re connected at Starbucks when they go for a cup of coffee.” But, he says, “the one place that they spend a lot of time that they’re not connected is in their vehicle, and we want to bring that to them.”

Clearly, for safety reasons, Mr. Leung cannot condone use of the service by drivers. When he is shown in the videos demonstrating the service, called UConnect, he always occupies a rear seat.

When I asked him last week about possible misuse of the service by drivers, he said that…the company would provide instructions to owners about its intended use.

Let’s face it. Here’s a wonderful new opportunity to expand the ever-growing number of candidates for a Darwin Award.