What if someone told you that Iceland may be the last exposed part of a lost, sunken continent called Icelandia, would you believe them? Of course not (especially with that make-believe name) but this new theory has been proposed by an international team of geologists and geophysicists.
The theory suggests that Iceland is part of a huge continent that sank beneath the North Atlantic Ocean some millions of years ago. The researchers believe that this theory may be able to explain some of the geographical features of the ocean floor and how the Earth’s crust beneath Iceland is different and thicker than most places. But that would also mean that all the known information about Iceland and North Atlantic’s formation would have to been seen in a new light.
While most experts not linked to this research are still skeptical about the existence of Icelandia, they’re still looking forward to the new ideas and opportunities of discovering fuels underneath the seafloor. By international law, the ownership of these continental materials can be claimed by a country if it can show their continental crush extends that far.
Geographer Philip Steinberg, director of Durham University’s Center for Borders Research, who was not actively involved in the Icelandia research, claimed that many countries are now spending a large amount of money on these researches that would allow them to claim rights to the continental materials found underneath the seafloor. “Research which forces us to rethink the relationship between the seabed and continental geology, can have far-reaching impact for countries trying to determine what area of the seabed are their exclusive preserve,” commented Steinberg.
It might still be a long way to go before geologists can actually prove the existence of Icelandia but all this research is a good starting point for different discussions and data collection.