Aug 16, 2017 | Updated: 01:24 PM EDT

‘Lost Continent’ Of Zealandia: Scientists Are Trying To Uncover A Huge Landmass Lying Underwater

Jul 31, 2017 05:51 AM EDT

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Scientists begin the expedition: to discover hidden secrets of the lost continent
(Photo : Science and more / You Tube) Scientists begin the expedition: to discover hidden secrets of the lost continent.
Deep beneath the waves and silently hidden for millions of years is the lost and sunken continent known as Zealandia, and scientists have just begun a new expedition to uncover their secrets. Zealandia covers an astonishing 1.9 million miles and was once part of Australia until it separated and moved northeast 75 million years ago. While Zealandia may have stopped its movement 53 million years ago, until just two decades ago scientists were unaware of its existence, probably due to the fact that it is almost completely submerged beneath the ocean with 94 percent under water. The name of the lost continent of Zealandia was coined in 1995 by the American geophysicist Bruce Luyendyk.
This two-month mission to study the lost continent of Zealandia began on Friday as a group of scientists sailed from Australia to embark on a large drilling expedition on a ship called the Joides Resolution. There will be 55 scientists involved in this large-scale effort To learn more about Zealandia. The International Ocean Discovery Program aims to drill up to 2,600 feet into the Tasmin Sea seabed at six separate locations so they can collect sediment samples that will contain evidence of fossils that have been left there over the course of millions of years.

Scientists are now attempting to investigate and discover the "lost continent" of Zealandia. Scientists have started sailing on Friday to uncover the huge landmass, once disappeared under the water.

The proper study has, so far, not been carried out about Zealandia. The "lost continent" originated from the super-continent Gondwana, separated about 75 million years ago and disappeared under the waves of the South Pacific. In February a paper published in the GSA Today where researchers claimed that the submerged landmass needs to be considered as the new continent.

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The researchers opined that this "lost continent" had a geological entity that covered all the necessary criteria like other seven continents on Earth. In a word, Zealandia met several criteria like distinctive geology, elevation above the surrounding territory, and many others. The crust of the submerged landmass is thicker than the ocean bed, and this is another important criteria.

The "lost continent" spreads from the south of the New Zealand northward to the New Caledonia and also west to the Kenn Plateau. In total, Zealandia covers an area of five million square kilometers. Throughout this journey, a drill ship will play a significant role. Joides Resolution is the name of this drill ship.

The ship will collect rocks and sediments lying under the seabed to study the nature of the region over the past many years. The scientists will study the cores, recovered by the drill ship, to unveil many important things. They will try to address the oceanographic history of the "lost continent". The scientists will study the plate tectonics, life of the sub-seafloor and the earthquake-generating zones.

An important scientist from the Texas' Rice University, Jerry Dickens, has stated significant words about the "lost continent" region. The co-chief scientist has uttered that Zealandia was an important area to uncover the global climate changes. According to him, Australia, another important continent, moved north, and simultaneously development of the important Tasman Sea occurred.

These two said incidents changed the patterns of the global circulation, and the fluctuation of the water depths over the Zealandia took place. In a word, the area associated with the "lost continent" influenced the global changes. The current expedition started from Townsville on Friday will continue for two months. Neville Exon from the Australian National University reported that the expedition must help to know the changes that happened in the tectonic configuration, Phys.org revealed.

The changes began to take place around 53 million years ago. Most importantly, the Pacific "Ring of Fire" also surfaced at this time, and it is the hotspot for earthquakes and the volcanoes. Lead author of this study Nick Mortimer revealed that for the last twenty years experts had been accumulating data to study the Zealand. But, the difficulty in studying the "lost continent" is that majority of it lies underwater.

Now the current effort could help to provide a clear picture about Zealandia. According to Nick Mortimer, if the scientists could unveil the key facts then they could show that the "lost continent" possesses mountain chains. The area could also reveal a high-standing big continent.


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