‘UK made in three-con­ti­nent col­li­sion’

Western Mail - - NEWS -

BRI­TAIN was formed by the col­li­sion of three an­cient con­ti­nents, new re­search sug­gests.

Eng­land, Wales and Scot­land were pre­vi­ously thought to have been created by the merg­ing of Avalonia and Lau­ren­tia more than 400 mil­lion years ago.

How­ever, ge­ol­o­gists at the Univer­sity of Ply­mouth now be­lieve a third mass of land, Ar­mor­ica, was also in­volved.

The re­search, pub­lished in jour­nal Na­ture Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, of­fers a “com­pletely new way of think­ing about how Bri­tain was formed”, the au­thors said.

The team of re­searchers stud­ied min­eral prop­er­ties in ex­posed rocks at 22 sites in Devon and Corn­wall.

Their anal­y­sis sug­gests a bound­ary across the two coun­ties, run­ning from the Exe es­tu­ary in the east to Camelford in the west.

The ar­eas north of the bor­der share ge­o­log­i­cal roots with the rest of Eng­land and Wales, while those in the south are linked to France and main­land Europe, the re­searchers said.

Lead au­thor Dr Ar­jan Dijk­stra, a lec­turer at the Univer­sity of Ply­mouth, said: “Our find­ings sug­gest that although there is no line on the sur­face, there is a clear ge­o­log­i­cal bound­ary which sep­a­rates Corn­wall and south Devon from the rest of the UK.”

The au­thors said this could ex­plain why tin and tung­sten are found in south-west Eng­land – and Brit­tany – but not other parts of Eng­land.

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