Scientists Come Home After Studying Zealandia, The Lost Continent


The scientific expedition that studied the lost continent of Zealandia is back on known lands.

The recent discovery of the lost continent of Zealandia in the Southern Hemisphere has led to a research group embarking on a journey that initiated the first attempts at mapping and surveying this lost continent. Only recognized by science in early 2017, the study team is part of the International Ocean Discovery Program.

  • Zealandia is also known as Tasmantis or the New Zealand continent. 
  • It is believed to have separated from Antarctica some 85 to 130 million years ago. 
  • It then probably broke away from Australia and then sunk around 60 to 85 million years ago.
  • ARound 93 percent of it is still under the waters of the Pacific Ocean. 
  • Some 23 million years ago, it might have been completely submerged. 

Zealandia, the Submerged Continent Reveals Its Secrets

The vessel carrying the scientific mission arrived and touched back in Hobart, Tasmania earlier this week. This event took place after the crew of scientists spent weeks drilling the seabed to discover what it held. They were doing so in trying to learn more about the history of the continent.

“Zealandia, a sunken continent long lost beneath the oceans, is giving up its 60 million-year-old secrets through scientific ocean drilling,” said one of the team.

Over the course of the expedition, the researchers drilled in six different sites across the South Pacific in their bid to understand how the submerged continent has changed over recent years and sunk further below the waves. Drilling at the six sites revealed fossils which showed that the area was not always at a depth of around two-thirds of a kilometer below the surface of the ocean.

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Among scientists, the most popular theory relating to the history of the continent put forth that this broke free from the area between Australia and Antarctica. This might have led to the formation of New Zealand’s mountain ranges and many of the other most iconic landmarks in this region of the South Pacific.

As the scientists come home, the secrets of the continent, so far revealed, show that the fossils of shells surviving in warm shallow seas were prominent. They also point to a continent not sunken to the depths it ‘lies’ at in the present day.

The sunken continent of Zealandia has only been recognized by the scientific community in early 2017 and still remains a mystery. Many of its secrets might get revealed with the completion of the drilling cores sourced from six sites across the area. Returning to Australia to report their findings will spark the first rush to reveal details of a continent that still largely remains a mystery.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

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