Deep underwater and far below ocean sediment lies what was, millions of years ago, a vast landscape. Complete with furrows and peaks that were once rivers and mountains, the North Atlantic site "looks for all the world like a map of a bit of a country onshore,” said one of the geologists who made the find using data collected for oil firms. “It is like an ancient fossil landscape preserved” some 1.2 miles “beneath the seabed.” Once, though, it was almost 0.6 miles above sea level, LiveScience reports.
The former landscape, discovered using echo-sounding techniques, is some 3,861 square miles west of Britain’s Orkney-Shetland Islands. The University of Cambridge scientists behind the find discovered pollen and coal in the rock beneath the ocean floor, indicating that it was once inhabited. But they found signs of marine life below it, suggesting that the land rose above the sea before sinking back into it, “like a terrestrial sandwich with marine bread," said one. Click to learn how ripples of magma could have caused the Atlantis-like landscape to form. (Read more Atlantis stories.)