A large land mass was thought to have twice spanned today’s Arctic region millions of years ago.
Where today there exists only ice and sea there was once an entire continent – at least that is according to researchers who have revealed the results of a groundbreaking new study which indicates that the Arctic was originally home to a large land mass not once but twice.
The first continent, known as Arctida-1, formed around one billion years ago before eventually breaking up around 750 million years ago. The second, known as Arctida-2, formed somewhere around 250 million years ago at the time of Pangea before breaking up once again.
The land that once made up this continent at the roof of the world can now be found across several different modern-day regions including Franz Josef Land, the continental territories of Chukotka and northern Alaska, the islands of North America and the Spitsbergen Archipelago – among others.
“Analysis of the data showed that in the geological history of the Arctic there were at least two continents, not one as was previously thought,” said Professor Dmitry Metelkin.
“According to our model, the first continent, called Arctida-I, was formed one billion years ago. It was a part of a larger supercontinent called Rodinia, which united all known ancient continental blocks.”
“The rebirth of Arctida happened at the turn of the Mesozoic period, about 250 million years ago. This is the time in Earth’s history when another supercontinent was formed, called Pangea.”
It is thought that the discovery could help to support Russia’s claim to the Arctic shelf as much of the prehistoric continent is now believed to make up parts of Siberia.
“Today’s Arctic attracts close attention, foreign researchers also work in this direction and many are involved in paleomagnetic research,” said Professor Metelkin. “Yet I am sure that only we have gathered the paleomagnetic data on the Russian part of the Arctic shelf.