Zealandia, Earth's hidden eighth continent, is no longer lost!
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02.10.2023 New Zealand   25
Zealandia, Earth's hidden eighth continent, is no longer lost!

Zeeland, Earth's eighth continent, was largely submerged in the sea. Geologists have now carefully mapped its entire two million square miles using data from ocean floor rock samples. This updated map sheds light on Zealand's unique geological history.


About 83 million years ago, the supercontinent Gondwana broke apart due to geological forces, giving rise to the modern continents. This process also gave birth to Zealand, which is now 94% under water, and only 6% is New Zealand and its neighboring islands.


Zealand has remained relatively unexplored due to its underwater location, leading to uncertainty regarding its shape and structure. To remedy this, a team of international geologists and seismologists improved existing maps of Zealand by analyzing rock and sediment samples collected from the ocean floor and offshore islands.


They complemented this with analysis of seismic data, creating a more accurate map Zealand with an area of ​​5 million km2. The study revealed geological patterns hinting at a subduction zone near the Campbell Plateau off the west coast of New Zealand. However, no magnetic anomalies were found in this region, which contradicts previous strike-slip theories.


Instead, the researchers propose that the Campbell magnetic anomaly system resulted from the stretching of Gondwana during its separation, eventually forming lower oceanic parts of Zealandia.


Analysis of chemical composition and geological data suggests that subduction of the Zealandia rim occurred about 250 million years ago, beneath what is now the Campbell Plateau. Subduction involves one edge of the Earth's crust pushing another into the Earth's mantle. It is noteworthy that magnetic anomalies in the region are not associated with this event.


The authors refute the existence of a strike-slip “Campbell Fault” and argue that Zealandia and Antarctica have undergone significant internal deformation. They suggest that the Campbell magnetic anomaly system resulted from extensive stretching between segments of Gondwana, eventually creating the surrounding seafloor of Zealandia.


About 83 million years ago, Zealandia/West Antarctica and Antarctica/Australia broke apart , which allowed the Tasman Sea to flood. Subsequently, about 79 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, Zealandia and West Antarctica separated to form the Pacific Ocean.


Geologists were intrigued by how Zealandia's crust thinned significantly before breaking off like Western Antarctica. Antarctica. The researchers found evidence of variable directions of extension between 100 and 80 million years ago, which may explain extensive thinning of the continental crust.


These results provide a solid basis for further research into the peculiar stretching of the earth's crust in this region.

Source: timesofindia

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