Scientists have revised the hypothesis of the origin of the British Isles and found that part of England has a common geological past with France.
Great Britain and Ireland, as well as territories owned by the British crown, are separated from continental Europe by the North Sea and the English Channel and Pas-de-Calais. Specifically, the English Channel separates England and France. Scientists have long assumed that the territory of Great Britain was formed as a result of the collision of the ancient continent of Lawrence with the microcontinent, or terrane, Avalonia. And it happened more than 400 million years ago.
However, geologists from the University of Plymouth in England concluded that Armorica, part of the continent in the northwest of what is now France, also played a role in the formation of the British Isles. Most likely, a piece of Armorica broke away from the main continent and eventually joined the British Isles. Work with the findings of scientists is published in the journal Nature Communications.
Researchers studied the properties of minerals and outcrops in various parts of Devon and Cornwall. They visited 22 points where once upon a time, hundreds of millions of years ago, geological phenomena such as volcanic eruptions took place. Thanks to them, magma rose to the surface from a depth of 100 kilometers. She was the subject of research by researchers.
The figure shows how the British Isles could have formed according to the new hypothesis / © Plymouth University
First, geologists analyzed the samples by X-ray fluorescence, and then dissolved them in acid for detailed isotopic analysis. The results were compared with data from other studies that looked at rocks from the rest of the UK and continental Europe.
As it turned out, there is a clear border on the territory of the two counties, to the north of which the composition of rocks is similar to that of the rest of England, but to the south it is geologically connected with France and continental Europe. The border runs from the mouth of the Aix Creek in the east to the city of Camelford in the west. This discovery partly explains why the southwest of England is rich in iron and tungsten - as is the case in Brittany, a region in northeastern France.
Scientists already knew that hundreds of thousands of years ago it was possible to walk from England to France, because the English Channel was formed during the Pleistocene, when the isthmus that connected Britain and the continent was washed away due to floods. However, no one could assume that the geological connection between France and England is so close.
The study of rocks is an important part of science, which helps us to paint the face of the past of the planet. In 2017, geologists discovered in Canada rocks dated to 4, 2 billion years old - the oldest rocks ever found. These are practically the same age as the Earth itself, which, according to researchers, is about 4.54 billion years old.