Atlantis theory sunk

06.01.2015

| Astri Sivertsen

Bjørn Anders Lundschien

Bjørn Anders Lundschien on an expedition to Hopen in Svalbard during 2011.
(Photo: Marta S Woldengen)

 

A collection of articles being published by the NPD throws new light on earlier theories about the geology of Svalbard and the northern Barents Sea.

According to a venerable hypothesis, sand and shale deposited around the Arctic archipelago derive from an earlier microcontinent – a kind of sunken Atlantis called Crockerland.

But studies by the NPD have exploded that view, reports geologist and project coordinator Bjørn Anders Lundschien. “Nothing suggests that such a land mass ever existed.”

Scientific drilling by the directorate off Kong Karls Land in 2005 was expected to determine the Permian-Triassic boundary, which dates back about 250 million years.

But it proved to be the Middle-Upper Triassic boundary from roughly 229 million years ago. “Being out by some 20 million years means there’s something wrong with the model,” says Lundschien.

Instead of coming from the north, the sand found around the islands originated to the southeast – all the way from highlands and mountain chains in Russia’s Ural region.

The NPD has staged a number of expeditions to and around Svalbard since 2005, collecting and analysing data together with Norwegian, Russian, Polish and British research institutes.

NPD Bulletin no 11, due to be published shortly, contains 10 scientific articles which discuss various aspects of the information acquired through the field work.

 

Geologists studying mudstones and sandstones deposited during the Triassic on Hopen in 2011.

Geologists studying mudstones and sandstones
deposited during the Triassic on Hopen in 2011.

(Photo: Terje Solbakk)