Scientists Set Sail to Unlock Secrets and techniques of ‘misplaced Continent’ Zealandia

Map displaying the Zealandia ‘new continent’, an enormous underwater landmass within the South Pacific that has by no means been correctly studied.

Scientists are trying to unlock the secrets and techniques of the “misplaced continent” of Zealandia, setting sail Friday to research the large underwater landmass east of Australia that has by no means been correctly studied.

Zealandia, which is usually submerged beneath the South Pacific, was as soon as a part of the Gondwana tremendous-continent however broke away some seventy five million years in the past.

In a paper revealed within the Geological Society of America’s Journal GSA At this time, researchers made the case that it must be thought-about a brand new continent.

They stated it was a definite geological entity that met all the standards utilized to Earth’s different continents, together with elevation above the encompassing space, distinctive geology, a properly-outlined space and a crust a lot thicker than that discovered on the ocean flooring.

Masking 5 million sq. kilometres (1.9 million sq. miles), it extends from south of New Zealand northward to New Caledonia and west to the Kenn Plateau off Australia’s east.

Drill ship Joides Decision will recuperate sediments and rocks mendacity deep beneath the ocean mattress in a bid to find how the area has behaved over the previous tens of tens of millions of years.

The recovered cores shall be studied onboard, permitting scientists to deal with points similar to oceanographic historical past, excessive climates, sub-seafloor life, plate tectonics and earthquake-producing zones.

Co-chief scientist Jerry Dickens, from Rice College in Texas, stated the area was an important space to review modifications in international local weather.

“As Australia moved north and the Tasman Sea developed, international circulation patterns modified and water depths over Zealandia fluctuated,” he stated.

“This area was necessary in influencing international modifications.”

Australian Nationwide College’s Neville Exon stated the 2-month expedition, setting out Friday from Townsville, would additionally assist higher perceive main modifications within the international tectonic configuration that began about fifty three million years in the past.

That is across the time that the Pacific “Ring of Hearth”, a hotspot for volcanoes and earthquakes, got here into existence.

Within the February scientific paper, lead writer Nick Mortimer stated specialists had been gathering knowledge to make the case for Zealandia being a continent for greater than 20 years.

However their efforts had been annoyed as a result of most of it was hidden beneath the waves.

“If we might pull the plug on the oceans, it will be clear to everyone that we’ve got mountain chains and an enormous, excessive-standing continent,” he stated on the time.

The research was revealed within the Geological Society of America’s Journal GSA.

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