The Atlantis archipelago may be a legend that some are still searching for, but there is also another sunken land. This has now been found. Get to know Argoland.
It may not be as famous or as stunning as Atlantis, but on the other hand it does exist. Scattered remains of a US-sized landmass have been discovered at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. This 155 million year old continent appears to be located off the coast of Southeast Asia. “Finding Argoland was a challenge,” the geologists wrote in their paper. “It took us seven years to solve the puzzle.”
A hole left behind
Argoland likely separated from Australia in the late Jurassic, when Brachiosaurus and Stegosaurus ruled the land. Over thousands of years, the piece of land slowly drifted towards Southeast Asia, before eventually disappearing completely. There has always been a suspicion that the continent must have existed because it left the gap it now has Argo abyssal plain It is called the depth of northwest Australia. But where the country went has until now been a mystery.
“If the continents could completely disappear into the Earth’s mantle without leaving a trace on the Earth’s surface, we would have no idea what the Earth looked like in the past,” says researcher Douwe van Hinsbergen, professor of global tectonics and paleogeography at Utrecht University. .
Lots of small islands
But fortunately that was not the case. Finally, rocky remains were spotted on the sea floor. Dutch geologists were able to discover traces of the lost landmass in the form of “huge tectonic units” spread across the ocean floor and forming part of small islands.
Parts of the continent, which was once about 5,000 kilometers in size, were “hidden under the jungle of large parts of Indonesia and Myanmar,” the researchers say. Using these remains, geologists were able to accurately map how Argoland slowly fell. They then reconstructed this in a video (see below). Argoland appears to have split into an archipelago in the Late Triassic. Parts of it later disappeared into the sea.
Zealandia and Greater Adria
She is not the first Lost Continent to meet its end in this way. There is also Zealandia, an underwater landmass near Australia, of which only New Zealand and New Caledonia rise above the water. There is also Greater Adria, the continent that was once in the Mediterranean and which we wrote about previously. Puglia, the heel of Italy, is one of the last remaining parts of it. It separated from North Africa about 240 million years ago.
Finding lost continents is not just a fun hobby (although it is of course an adventurous activity). Research into the formation and breakup of continents is “vital for our knowledge of processes, such as the evolution of biodiversity and climate or for the discovery of raw materials,” the researchers say. “And on a more fundamental level, it’s interesting because it gives us a better understanding of how mountains form or how the driving forces behind plate tectonics work.”
Continents that disappeared
The disappearing continents are not special at all. It’s basically the way plate tectonics works: somewhere a piece of the continent breaks off. It floats away and reconnects with another place or disappears into the sea. For example, part of Colombia may lie under Alaska, and there may also be an unmapped land area off the coast of Ireland. It usually does not become as legendary and mysterious as Atlantis, but it remains an interesting branch of research.
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