On Friday, July 28, scientists set sail towards Zealandia, a recently re-discovered, mostly submerged continent. One that could be capable of connecting New Zealand and New Caledonia were it not mostly under water.
The Australian National University is now leading a team of scientists towards this lost continent as they will be spending two months exploring this continental crust.
Zealandia, Long Lost, Now About to be Rediscovered
Zealandia is believed to have once been part of Australia. However, some 75 million years ago, the now underwater continent broke away from the mainland and started moving northeast. According to current research, it is believed to have stopped moving and settled down some 53 million years ago.
Long lost, the continental crust was once again rediscovered and started attracting attention quite recently. Now, a team of scientists is determined to take a closer look at this submerged continent. For this, on Friday, they embarked on a two months long expedition which will be looking to examine Zealandia.
This around 1.9 million square miles piece of land which is now mostly submerged under water. If above ground, the continental crust could serve to connect the islands of New Caledonia and New Zealand.
“The continental crust of Zealandia was thinned by stretching before it separated from Australia so that it lies lower than Australia,” stated Professor Rupert Sutherland, part of the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
Professor Sutherland also pointed out that the continental crust of Zealandia is “thicker than the surrounding oceanic crust”. So the continent’s crust is higher than its surrounding areas.
The research team hopes that, through this expedition, they will be able to find out more about the region but also about the world, in general.
Namely, they will be looking to examine the global tectonic configuration. The team will also try and determine how the “Ring of Fire” came to exist. This is a vast region in the Pacific Ocean known for hosting volcanoes earthquakes.
The preliminary results of the expedition should become available at the end of September, as the expedition ship will dock in Hobart and come to an end.
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