Tags: britain-europe | land bridge

Britain-Europe Land Bridge Washed Out 450K Years Ago

Image: Britain-Europe Land Bridge Washed Out 450K Years Ago

English coastal cliffs called Seven Sisters (Tomas Griger/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 05 Apr 2017 08:47 AM

A Britain-Europe land bridge across the England Channel existed until 450,000 years ago. Made of chalk, it extended from the white cliffs of Dover until being destroyed in geologic cataclysms.

A study by Imperial College London researchers said catastrophic flooding finished off the land bridge, in what they called "Brexit 1.0."

The study published in the science journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, said a large glacial lake spillover initially helped breach the ridge in the Dover Strait.

"Here we show that opening of the strait involved at least two major episodes of erosion," reads the study's abstract. "Sub-bottom records reveal a remarkable set of sediment-infilled depressions that are deeply incised into bedrock that we interpret as giant plunge pools. These support a model of initial erosion of the Dover Strait by lake overspill, plunge pool erosion by waterfalls and subsequent dam breaching."

"We still don't know for sure why the proglacial lake spilt over," said Jenny Collier, co-author of the study. "Perhaps part of the ice sheet broke off, collapsing into the lake, causing a surge that carved a path for the water to cascade off the chalk ridge."

"In terms of the catastrophic failure of the ridge, maybe an earth tremor, which is still characteristic of this region today, further weakened the ridge. This may have caused the chalk ridge to collapse, releasing the mega flood that we have found evidence for in our studies."

The New York Times said the Britain-Europe land bridge stood for about 10 million years, running from Dover to Calais leading from Britain to France.

"When the ice age ended and sea levels rose, flooding the valley floor for good, Britain lost its physical connection to the mainland," said Imperial College's Sanjeev Gupta. "Without this dramatic breaching Britain would still be a part of Europe. This is Brexit 1.0 – the Brexit nobody voted for."

Collier and Gupta joined Belgian and French seismologists to analyze the English Channel's bedrock that was discovered in preparing the route for the Channel Tunnel, noted the Times, and the tunnel had to be rerouted to avoid dangerous pits that appeared to have been gouged out by ancient glaciers.

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A Britain-Europe land bridge across the England Channel existed until 450,000 years ago. Made of chalk, it extended from the white cliffs of Dover until being destroyed in geologic cataclysms.
britain-europe, land bridge
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2017-47-05
Wednesday, 05 Apr 2017 08:47 AM
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