All that is left of the ancient continent is now ice-covered shelves in the Arctic, but earlier, it was a part of two supercontinents.
The research has refuted a myth about Hyperborea being located in a mythical northern continent, reports Sputnik.
A team of Russian scientists has shown that the Arctic continental shelf’s remains formed a unique continent at least twice in history.
The study allows us to reconstruct the continent’s biography, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reports.
Scientists from the Trofimuk Institute of Petroleum Geology and experts from the Geology and Geophysics center of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have reached this conclusion after analyzing rock samples from the Arctic archipelagos: from the Franz Josef Land, Northland, and the island of New Siberia.
The results have allowed scientists to take a look several million years into history, experts explain in an article published by Izvestia.
“For people on foot, the concept of a continent is equivalent to that of the mainland, but for geologists, a continent also includes its submarine borders,” explains professor of the Academy of Sciences and head of the General and Regional Geology Department at Novosibirsk State University and leading author of the study, Dmitry Metelkin.
Arctida, a long-lost continent
Scientists explain that an ancient continent named Arctida formed around one billion years ago. Eventually, it split apart around 750 million years ago, only to come back together after another 500 million years, suggest findings of the Institute of Petroleum Geology and Geophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Novosibirsk State University.
And it was these rock samples recently analyzed by experts that have allowed them to look deep inside the history of the long-lost continent of “Arctida.”
The lithospheric plates that today make up the continental shelf were combined more than a billion years ago when the Earth was inhabited mainly by microorganisms that left practically no trace of their existence.
Arctida was then part of a supercontinent called Rodinia.
Approximately some 750 million years ago, the continent was completely divided into fragments separated by a vast ocean.
The second time the Arctic was formed happened some 250 million years ago.
During that time, the very first dinosaurs began populating the Earth.
Arctida became part of another supercontinent, Pangea.
Following the dissolution of Pangaea and the creation of the Arctic Ocean, parts of the ‘second’ Arctida were spread across the northern pole, mostly becoming the Arctic shelf, explain scientists.
Meet Hyperborea–sort of
A mythical continent, probably, inhabited by an ancient civilization? Not really.
According to Greek mythology, this region, located in northern lands, north of Thrace, was inhabited by an advanced ancient civilization whose inhabitants had enormous lifespans and lived in complete happiness.
Hyperborea was supposed to be perfect, with the sun shining twenty-four hours a day, which to modern ears suggests a possible location within the Arctic Circle during the Midnight Sun-time of year. However, it is also possible that Hyperborea had no real physical location at all, for according to the classical Greek poet Pindar,
…neither by ship nor on foot would you find the marvelous road to the assembly of the Hyperboreans.
Pindar also described the otherworldly perfection of the Hyperboreans:
Never the Muse is absent from their ways: lyres clash and flutes cry and everywhere maiden choruses whirling. Neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed in their sacred blood; far from labor and battle, they live.
But experts say that’s just a myth.
“The hypothesis that Hyperborea – ‘beyond the north’ in Greek – was located in the ancient Arctida does not hold up,” researcher Nikolai Matushkin from the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences told Izvestia.
“We are talking about a geological body that existed hundreds of billions of years ago. There could not be any civilization back then,” he concluded.
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