The Original Brexit: Ancient Land Bridge Connecting Britain to Europe Destroyed

By Ana Verayo, | April 07, 2017

This is an illustration of what the land bridge connecting Britain to Europe may have looked like before the formation of the Dover Strait.

This is an illustration of what the land bridge connecting Britain to Europe may have looked like before the formation of the Dover Strait.

The original Brexit apparently occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago when an ancient land bridge connecting Britain to Europe was destroyed. Apparently, multiple powerful waterfalls made this land bridge vulnerable until a megaflood ultimately destroyed this.

This ancient bridge is connected to Dover in southeast England to Calais in northwestern France around 450,000 years ago. This ice bridge is also estimated to be 30 kilometers long however two separate flooding events that were so massive eroded and eventually destroyed this bridge, due to climate change and global warming in the Ice Age.

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According to author of the study, Sanjeev Gupta from the Imperial College London, if not for these accidental series of events, then Britain would have been definitely still attached to Europe. Some 450,000 years ago, sea levels were extremely lower than today since there are still many massive glaciers that are keeping this water from escaping into the world's oceans.

According to co-author of the study, Jenny Collier from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, based on evidence, we now suggest that the Dover Strait 450,000 years ago was originally a massive rock bridge that links Britain to France, similar to the frozen tundra in Siberia. Collier describes this bridge as a cold land mass with waterfalls made from white chalk similar to the White Cliffs of Dover today.


However, when ice sheets from Scandinavia and around Britain started melting, a large lake spanning hundreds of kilometers surrounded this land bridge. When this lake continuously filled, it became overflowing creating several massive waterfalls that crashed into the southern part of the land bridge with holes as deep as 100 meters.

These holes transformed into plunge pools filling up with sediment that eventually weakened this bridge. However, the land bridge still stood for 200,000 years more. However some 180,000 years ago, another warming period melted ice sheets and glaciers once more that formed another lake on top of this and placed enormous pressure on this vulnerable land bridge.

A megaflood pummeled into the land bridge for its final blow, partially eroding to form the English Channel. Researchers say that the combination of these two destructive events between hundreds of thousands of years apart ultimately made an island out of Britain. Gupta adds, if it were not for these events, Britain and France would have still be connected to each other.

This new study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

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