facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Icelandic stones may have guided Vikings

Nov. 2, 2011 at 6:41 PM   |   Comments

LONDON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Vikings may have used rocks from Iceland to locate the sun even on cloudy days to help them navigate the high seas, a study suggests.

In Norse legends, sunstones are said to have guided Viking seafarers to North America.

A report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A says a form of rock known as Icelandic spar could have been the mythical sunstones because of its ability to polarize light, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Voyaging Vikings could have held them aloft and used that quality to determine the direction of the sun even when it was hidden by cloud cover, researchers said.

Icelandic spars, formed from crystallized calcium carbonate, are good polarizers and may have been the source material for the Vikings' sunstones, the study said.

Icelandic spars can be easily cleaved and crafted into a rhombus shape required for the polarizing effect, and one example has been discovered on the wreck of an Elizabethan ship that sank in 1592, the researchers said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
3
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
4
Only 5 billion years until Andromeda Galaxy eats Milky Way Only 5 billion years until Andromeda Galaxy eats Milky Way
5
Tuna fishermen are not happy about proposed marine sanctuary Tuna fishermen are not happy about proposed marine sanctuary
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback