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Marine scientists have discovered an exceptionally well-preserved terrestrial landscape submerged in the coastal waters of the Maltese islands, which reveals how the archipelago would have looked like 20,000 years ago.
At this time, Europe was experiencing the Last Ice Age and sea level in the Mediterranean Sea was 130 metres lower than at present. Malta, Gozo and Comino were connected and the archipelago was two and a half times larger than it is today. Dingli Cliffs towered 380m above sea level whilst Valletta was located 10km inshore.
The coastline from Marsalforn to Pembroke consisted of steep coastal cliffs that were incised by more than 20 valleys. Numerous limestone plateaus hosted collapsed caves and featured landslides along their margins. A 40km-wide land bridge connected southeast Malta all the way to the south of Sicily.
Sea level rise during the last 20,000 years has drowned 450 km2 of this landscape, meaning that the largest part of the Maltese islands is today under water.
Submerged sites of ancient communities could be hidden in the seas around the Western Isles, according to experts. Dr Jonathan Benjamin and Dr Andrew Bicket believe the islands' long and sheltered lochs have protected 9,000-year-old Mesolithic relics. Rising sea levels may have covered up to 6.2 miles (10km) of land on the west coast of the Outer Hebrides. The archaeologists are to give a presentation in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's council chambers on Monday.
During the Mesolithic period, also known as the Middle Stone Age, Britain was transformed from a peninsula to an island. It is thought that landslides in Norway - the Storegga Slides - triggered one of the biggest tsunamis ever recorded on Earth when a landlocked sea burst its banks. The water struck the north-east of Britain with such force it travelled 25 miles (40km) inland, turning low-lying plains into what is now the North Sea, and marshlands to the south into the Channel.
Originally posted by zedVSzardoz
Crazy... Makes you wonder if we will ever get some of that land back that the oceans swallowed up....or lose more..
Originally posted by heineken
reply to post by SLAYER69
u know ur asking too much
this is my city btw..how can i ever trade
P.S...thank you for loving my country so much..the majority dont even know we exist
Heineken, So I'm guessing a swap to metro Detroit is TRULY out of the question then eh?
Slayer, thank you for this. Malta fascinates me...as does many places but Malta...wow. My kids' grandmother came here [to the US] from Malta as a little girl and it's captured my heart ever since. I truly wonder how much history is just sitting there under water, waiting for us to rediscover!
S&F as always. ~Lu