An Expedition to Understanding The World's Hidden Continent, Zealandia

Khryss | Published 2017-09-02 16:11

Remember the news earlier this year about a hidden crust found by a group of researchers around New Zealand? You know, the one they've argued as actually the eighth continent?

Well, just in case you haven't heard about it, a 4.9-million-square-kilometre region of continental crust dubbed Zealandia was found. It stretches from near Australia’s northeastern coast past the islands of New Zealand but has 90% of it submerged in the ocean!

This remarkable discovery got the attention of geologists so much that they had to pursue it and know more about this unknown continent. And now, they get to reach and start drilling the place this week!

“This is the first dedicated drilling expedition to understand the history of this mostly submerged region,” says Gerald Dickens of Rice University in Houston, Texas, co-chief scientist on research ship JOIDES Resolution.

On the 30th of July, geologists have already left the Australian port of Townsville to go to the site on which they're planning to stay for two months. There, they'll drill at six sites below the sea before finally going back to Hobart, Tasmania, in September.

“We’re about halfway to the first drill site, called Lord Howe Rise, and should reach it on Thursday afternoon, Australian time,” said Dickens. “We’re looking at the best place in the world to understand how plate subduction initiates,” says Dickens.

Isn't it exciting and humbling at the same time to actually have the facts in front of us and know how much we still don't about our planet?

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