Original 'Brexit' occurred 125,000 years ago
Geologists have revealed the cataclysmic flooding that once separated the UK from the rest of Europe.
Great Britain and France might be separated by the English Channel today, but 450,000 years ago the two countries were connected by a long, chalky ridge that held back a vast lake of icy water.
"It would have been a dramatic landscape," said Professor Sanjeev Gupta. "It would have been cold, grey, rocky, with very, very sparse vegetation, like Svalbard or Siberia."
Eventually, for reasons that still remain unclear, the ridge started to overflow, resulting in huge waterfalls which ruptured it even further, creating an ongoing deluge in to the channel.
The final straw came when a vast amount of additional water poured in to the channel around 160,000 years ago as the result of a catastrophic flood further upstream.
By 125,000 years ago the floods had immersed the whole area and the English Channel was born.
"A chance series of geological events set the stage for Britain becoming an island," said Gupta. "If it weren't for these events, in a sense the history of Britain would have been completely different.