Researchers believed they have found a sunken continent hidden under Iceland, which they have now dubbed 'Icelandia'.
An international team of geologists, led by Gillian Foulger, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University (UK), believe the submerged geological secret could stretch from Greenland to Europe.
Reports claim the landmass could cover an area of around 600,000 km2 but could be up to 1,000,000 km2 when areas to the West of Britain are included.
The theory, if proven, could change what we know about the world as it could mean that the giant supercontinent of Pangaea, which is thought to have broken up over 50 million years ago, is not broken up.
This new theory challenges long-held scientific ideas around the extent of oceanic and continental crust in the North Atlantic region, and how volcanic islands, like Iceland, formed.
It could also spark discussions about a new source of minerals and hydrocarbons, both of which are contained in continental crust, ITV reports.
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World-leading geologist at Durham University, Professor Gillian Foulger said: "Until now Iceland has puzzled geologists as existing theories that it is built of, and surrounded by, oceanic crust are not supported by multiple geological data.
"For example, the crust under Iceland is over 40 km thick – seven times thicker than normal oceanic crust. This simply could not be explained.
"However, when we considered the possibility that this thick crust is continental, our data suddenly all made sense. This led us immediately to realise that the continental region was much bigger than Iceland itself – there is a hidden continent right there under the sea.
"There is fantastic work to be done to prove the existence of Icelandia but it also opens up a completely new view of our geological understanding of the world.
"Something similar could be happening at many more places. We could eventually see maps of our oceans and seas being redrawn as our understanding of what lies beneath changes."
The research team is now working on how they will come together from across the world to test the theory once Covid restrictions will allow.
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