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Eighth Continent? A Question In Search Of Answer!

Venkatesan Iyer
01/08/2017 0 0
  • How many continents are there?

  • Standard answer: Seven.

  • What are they?

  • Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Antartica

  • But it seems, a new member may be added in future.


  • What will be the eighth?

  • Answer: Zealandia.

  • Where is it?

  • Answer: It is submerged under water.

  • Actually, 94% is submerged under the Pacific ocean;

  • All we of it is New Zealand and few islands.

  • Basic outline:

  • 100 million years ago Antartica, Austalia, Zealandia were one continent;

  • 85 million years ago Zealandia split off on its own, separated from Australia.

  • 50 million years ago, the Pacific plate dove beneath New Zealand, pushing up the two islands.

  • Why should we consider a submerged land mass as a continent?

  • There are specific criteria applied to Earth's continents:

  1. Distinctive geology

  2. Well-defined area

  3. Crust much thicker than found on the ocean floor.

  • Why is there current interest?

  • Answer : Currently, there is an expedition to gather more data to decide the question. Scientists have sailed aboard the Jodies Resolution, a drilling ship.

                                JOIDES Resolution in 2009

  • They visit six sites in the Tasman sea between Australia and New Zealand to drill cores of sediment and rocks from earth's crust (between 1000 feet and 2000 feet).

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