They discover a lost continent beneath the jungles of Asia

A team of scientists from Utrecht University has found evidence of the existence of A The lost continent Which moved away from the landmass that became Australia 155 million years ago. It’s about Argolandfrom which so far, We only had circumstantial evidence. It was a 5,000-kilometre-long piece that broke off from Western Australia and began a solitary drift.

Argoland: A lost continent discovered beneath the jungles of AsiaMid-Journey / Sarah Romero

A lost continent

Although the researchers stated in their study that it is possible that Argoland does not exist as it does today, It hasn’t completely disappeared either. The structure of the sea floor indicates that the continent is separate moved northwest, Perhaps towards present-day Southeast Asia. It’s all because of plate tectonics, which is why our planet’s continents are not static, but can join and separate from each other, over millions of years, and geologists have long suspected that Argoland was one of these continents. Microcontinents.

The deep ocean basin left after the breakup of Argoland indicates that the continent drifted northwest, likely ending up somewhere in what are now the islands of Southeast Asia. It started to break apart about 300 million years ago, Forming what researchers called the “Argopelago.”

Thus, there is no large hidden continent, but rather the remains of small continental fragments surrounded by older ocean basins.

“If the continents could sink into the mantle and disappear completely, leaving no geological trace on the Earth’s surface, we would have little idea what the Earth was like in the geologic past. “It will be almost impossible to create reliable reconstructions of ancient supercontinents and the geography of Earth in past eras.”“, explains Utrecht University geologist Douwe van Hinsbergen. Fortunately, we have traces of past eras in small pieces.

Where is Argolandia located?Utrecht University

Computer simulation

During the Late Jurassic Period, between 164 and 145 million years ago, the great planet’s vast landmass was enormous. The supercontinent Pangea It split into two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwana. However, the breakup wasn’t entirely clean. It seems that by this time, Argoland had already been divided into Multiple fragments.

Researchers used computer reconstructions based on existing geological evidence to paint a picture of how Argoland broke into multiple pieces, settling around what is now Indonesia and Myanmar. And the, Instead of a single land mass, they found many smaller parts that had been pieced together over millions of years.

“The situation in Southeast Asia is very different from places like Africa and South America, where the continent is clearly divided into two parts. Argoland has been divided into many different parts,” Eldert Advocaat, one of the authors of the study, explained in a press release.

ancient landiStock

Scientists have relied on the Argo abyssal underwater plain as evidence of Argoland’s past existence. The structure of the sea floor indicates that the divided continent moved northwest, perhaps toward present-day Southeast Asia. Argoland was never one solid landmass, but rather a collection of small continental pieces. Interspersed among them are ancient ocean basins, such as Zealandia, another semi-submerged continent that sank after separating from Asia 60-85 million years ago. Therefore, the history of this small continent is not a history of complete disappearance, but rather a history of transformation.

The puzzle solved by researchers Advocaat and Van Hinsbergen Fits perfectly Between the geological systems adjacent to the Himalayas and the Philippines.

References:

  • Eldert L. Advokaat et al, Finding Argoland: Reconstructing a small continental archipelago of orogenic accretions in Southeast Asia, Gondwana Research (2023). doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2023.10.005
  • Zhang, J., Xiao, W., Wakabayashi, J., Windley, P., and Han, C. (2022). Part of the Argoland of Eastern Gondwana in the northeastern Himalayas. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 127. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JB022631.
  • Abdel-Rahman, M., Widiantoro, S., Saibuloh, A., and Kurniwan, I. (2018). Tracing the lost Argoland zone beneath Java: evidence from geochemical signature and seismic tomography. Generation and exploration of the Earth’s interior. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-01575-6_9.
  • Nance, R. (2022). The supercontinent cycle and the Earth’s long-term climate. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1515, 33 – 49. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.14849.
  • Huang, C., Li, Z., and Zhang, N. (2022). Will Earth’s next supercontinent assemble by closing off the Pacific Ocean? National Science Review, 9. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/nsr/nwac205.
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