- Geologists have determined there’s a new continent called “Zealandia.”
- Recent satellite data and rock samples led to the conclusion.
- New Zealand and New Caledonia are part of the new continent, which is about as big as greater India.
- The new continent could have economic and geopolitical implications.
Kids are frequently taught that seven continents exist: Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.
Geologists, who look at the rocks (and tend to ignore the humans), group Europe and Asia into a supercontinent – Eurasia – making for a total of six geologic continents.
But according to a new study of Earth’s crust, there’s a seventh geologic continent called “Zealandia,” and it has been hiding under our figurative noses for millennia.
The 11 researchers behind the study say that New Zealand and New Caledonia aren’t merely island chains. Instead, they’re both part of a single, 4.9 million-square-kilometer (1.89 million-square-mile) slab of continental crust that’s distinct from Australia.
“This is not a sudden discovery, but a gradual realization; as recently as 10 years ago we would not have had the accumulated data or confidence in interpretation to write this paper,” the researchers wrote in GSA Today, a journal of the Geological Society of America.
Ten of the researchers work for institutions within the new continent; one works for a university in Australia. But other geologists are almost certain to accept the team’s continent-sized conclusions, says Bruce Luyendyk, a geophysicist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, who wasn’t involved in the study.
“These people here are A-list earth scientists,” Luyendyk told Business Insider. “I think they’ve put together a solid collection of evidence that’s really thorough. I don’t see that there’s going to be a lot of pushback, except maybe around the edges.”
- Why Zealandia is almost certainly a new continent
Zealandia, shown in gray to the east of Australia, is likely Earth’s seventh geologic continent.
The concept of Zealandia isn’t new. In fact, Luyendyk coined the term in 1995.
But Luyendyk says it was never intended to be a new continent. Rather, the name was used to describe New Zealand, New Caledonia, and a collection of submerged pieces and slices of crust that broke off a region of Gondwana, a 200 million-year-old supercontinent.
“The reason I came up with this term is out of convenience,” Luyendyk said. “They’re pieces of the same thing when you look at Gondwana. So I thought, ‘Why do you keep naming this collection of pieces as different things?'”
Researchers behind the new study advanced Luyendyk’s idea a huge step further: They took decades’ worth of newer evidence and examined it with four criteria that geologists use to deem a slab of rock a continent:
Land that pokes up relatively high from the ocean floor.
A diversity of three types of rocks: igneous (spewed by volcanoes), metamorphic (altered by heat/pressure), and sedimentary (made by erosion).
A thicker, less dense section of crust compared with surrounding ocean floor.
“Well-defined limits around a large enough area to be considered a continent rather than a microcontinent or continental fragment.”
Geologists had determined that New Zealand and New Caledonia fit the bill for items one, two, and three. After all, they’re large islands that poke up from the sea floor, are geologically diverse, and are made of thicker, less dense crust.
This eventually led to Luyendyk’s coining of Zealandia and the description of the region as “continental,” since it was considered a collection of microcontinents, or bits and pieces of former continents.
The authors say the last item on the list – a question of “Is it big enough and unified enough to be its own thing?” – is one that other researchers had skipped over, though by no fault of their own. At a glance, Zealandia seemed broken up.
However, the new study used recent and detailed satellite-based elevation and gravity maps of the ancient seafloor to show that Zealandia is indeed part of a unified region. The data also suggests Zealandia spans “approximately the area of greater India” – larger than Madagascar, New Guinea, Greenland, or other pieces of crust.
“If the elevation of Earth’s solid surface had first been mapped in the same way as those of Mars and Venus (which lack […] opaque liquid oceans),” they wrote, “we contend that Zealandia would, much earlier, have been investigated and identified as one of Earth’s continents.”
The geologic devil’s in the details
The authors point out that while India is big enough to be a continent – and probably used to be – it’s now part of Eurasia because it collided and stuck to that continent millions of years ago.
Zealandia, meanwhile, has not yet smashed into Australia. A piece of seafloor called the Cato Trough still separates the continents by 25 kilometers (15.5 miles).
An elevation map of Zealandia and nearby Australia.N. Mortimer et al./GSA Today
Another wrinkle for Zealandia is its division into northern and southern segments by two tectonic plates: the Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate. This split makes the region seem more like a bunch of continental fragments than a unified slab.
But the researchers say that Arabia, India, and parts of Central America have similar divisions yet are still considered parts of larger continents.
“I’m from California, and it has a plate boundary going through it,” Luyendyk said. “In millions of years, the western part will be up near Alaska. Does that make it not part of North America? No.”
What’s more, the researchers wrote, rock samples suggest Zealandia is made of the same continental crust that used to be part of Gondwana and that it migrated in ways similar to Antarctica and Australia.
The samples and data also show that Zealandia is not broken up. Instead, plate tectonics have thinned, stretched, and submerged Zealandia over of millions of years.
Today, only about 5% of it is visible – which is part of the reason it took so long to discover.
“The scientific value of classifying Zealandia as a continent is much more than just an extra name on a list,” the scientists wrote. “That a continent can be so submerged yet unfragmented makes it a useful and thought-provoking geodynamic end member in exploring the cohesion and breakup of continental crust.”
Luyendyk said he believes the distinction won’t end up as merely a scientific curiosity. He thinks it could have larger, real-world consequences.
“The economic implications are clear and come into play: What’s part of New Zealand, and what’s not part of New Zealand?” he said.
United Nations agreements use continental margins to determine which nations can extract off-shore resources – and New Zealand may have tens of billions of dollars’ worth of fossil fuels and minerals lurking off its shores.
Source: BUSINESS INSIDER
Is what I feel called love?
Is this even the right time?
I’m as pure as the dove
I know this love doesn’t cost a dime
As the stars brighten up every night skies…
So does love light up your eyes
What will be my fate?
In this love feast
Would I get the best part
Or be the wounded hart
Is this a game or a gain?
This flame can’t be resisted
Just keep it burning
And the embers glowing
Tell me what to cling to
Your Heart or strike the dart
STOP BRAGGING WITH KYEBI WATER – OKYENHENE JABS MAHAMA
Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin II
The President of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, who doubles as the Paramount Chief of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, has warned members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the government to desist from claiming that they have provided the residents of Kyebi with potable water.
According to the Okyenhene, it saddens him to hear the NDC activists campaigning on radio that it was President Mahama who provided water to Kyebi residents, stressing that “it’s not true.”
Osagyefuo Amoatia made this observation when President Mahama, as part of his re-election campaign tour of the Eastern Region, paid a courtesy call on him at the Ofori Panin Fie at Kyebi, on Thursday.
He stated that government upgraded and expanded the mechanical system but did not construct the entire water supply system.
“We have been having water for a long time,” he indicated.
He expressed gratitude to the government for constructing the road from Apedwa to the Kyebi Township and also called on present and future governments to be genuinely concerned about the plight of Ghanaians and refrain from politicising everything.
The Kyebi Water Project was initiated by the previous Kufuor administration in June 2008 with funding from the Austrian government.
It was completed in 2011 under the NDC government, headed by President John Evans Atta Mills.
The delay in completing the project was as a result of the muddiness of the Birim River caused by illegal mining (galamsey) activities. It therefore became necessary for the project to be redesigned.
At the time of inaugurating the project, President Mahama said because River Birim had been heavily polluted, officials of the Ghana Water Company had to use excess chemicals to treat the Birim water before it became consumable, adding that his government funded the building of the water system.
President Mahama, who had described Kyebi as the headquarters of ‘galamsey,’ assured the residents that the mining sector would be given a boost in the next NDC government when given the nod, adding that part of the enhancement process of small-scale mining would be given a facelift to end the illegal mining menace in the country.
According to him, the fight against illegal mining had been a challenge and that to address it effectively, the government had started reviewing the mining regulations in the country.
He said as part of the exercise, the government had classified the mining sector into large, medium and small-scale which would successfully regulate the sector.
The president explained that all small-scale miners would be made to form cooperatives that would comprise at least 21 members to access regulated concessions to mine.
“By so doing the cooperatives will be urged to save some small amounts for a period of time to enable them access equipment that they could use to reclaim the land after mining,” he said.
Dozens Die in Baghdad Suicide Blast Claimed by ISIS
A suicide bomber in Baghdad killed more than 35 people and wounded over 50 others Saturday in an attack on Shi’ite Muslim religious observances.
Some accounts from the northern Baghdad district of al-Shaab indicated casualties could be considerably higher. A tweet sent in the name of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said was carried out by “the martyrdom-seeking brother Abu-Fahd al-Iraqi.”
Reports from the scene said the bomber detonated a belt filled with explosives inside a large, crowded tent set up for Shi’ite Ashura rituals. Many people there were commemorating the death of Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, in a seventh-century battle near the Iraqi town of Karbala. Others in the crowd were taking part in a funeral procession for a local resident.
Both the United States and Iran condemned the attack and extended condolences to the victims.
A statement issued in Washington denounced “the barbaric terrorist attack” as “yet another sign of [Islamic State’s] cowardice and contempt for human life.”
U.S. officials said the bombing was an “attempt to sow sectarian discord among the people of Iraq … [that] only underscores the importance of coalition efforts to support Iraqi security forces.”
“The United States remains committed to that goal,” they added.
From Tehran, the Fars news agency reported that the Iranian Foreign Ministry called on the international community to support the Iraqi government “until the complete failure of the terrorists.”
Islamic State, most of whose members are Sunni Muslim extremists, considers Shi’ites to be heretics. Saturday’s bombing was the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital since early July, and it also came at a time when Iraqi government forces are making final preparations for a battle to retake the IS-held northern city of Mosul.
Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, told VOA the battle for Mosul was likely to stir up further sectarian tensions, including more suicide bombings.
“I think that once ISIS is defeated in Mosul, we will see more and more suicide attacks,” Khashan said. “Even with the capture of Mosul, it will be too early to celebrate victory against Islamic State. ISIS doesn’t spare anybody, but needless to say they have a vested interest in targeting Iraqi Shi’ites.”
People gather at the site of a suicide bomb attack in al-Shaab district, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct.15, 2016
The coming battle for Mosul is expected to be the most difficult and complex yet in the war against Islamic State. A coalition of diverse and sometimes rival Iraqi forces will have to fight through elaborate IS defenses to reach Mosul, which has a large civilian population.
The prospect of lengthy street fighting between Iraqi forces and die-hard jihadists has led many analysts and aid officials to warn of an expected humanitarian crisis, with up to a million people displaced by the fighting as winter sets in.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, visiting government-held areas near Mosul on Saturday, urged Iraqis from all sectarian groups to unite to recapture the city and destroy Islamic State.
In addition to the suicide attack on Shi’ites marking Ashura, separate attacks by militants in two areas north of Baghdad on Saturday killed another 12 people.
MAN KILLS WIFE AFTER TAKING BACK HIS ENGAGEMENT RING
After 27 year old Julia Martin from Detroit broke off her engagement six months ago to her boyfriend of three years, she knew the right thing to do would be to return her engagement ring.
According to police, when Julia’s ex fiancé, 35 year old Rodney Harvey came over to her apartment on the premise of collecting the ring last Friday night, he forced open the door when she answered the door and stabbed her repeatedly before jumping to his death from her apartment window.
Julia Martin tried to save her own life by instantly calling the Police and her Dad after Harvey jumped off the window. She grabbed her phone and called police about 7 p.m. She told them the name of the man who stabbed her and asked them to send an ambulance for her. Then she called her dad but her dad didn’t check his phone until much later in the day.
Her dad Derrick Martin said Monday:
“Not only did she call me, she texted me while she was going through all this. It read: “Call me ASAP”.
“She was calling everybody, saying that she wanted help. She called another friend and she was panting over the phone, trying to get her breath. He thought it was a prank and he hung up on her. He feels so bad.” Derrick Martin said his daughter never gave him any rreason to worry that the man she spent so much of her life with was dangerous. He said: “There was no indication he was dangerous … I never would’ve thought that in a million years”. “She never went into that much detail about how bad it was, she was just telling me that they had broke it off and that she was planning on giving the ring back.” Derrick Martin said a week before her death, Julia called him and asked them to hang out, so he drove several miles to meet his daughter and that they went to a winery and enjoyed each other’s company, he said. “God works in mysterious ways,” Derrick Martin said. “He must’ve known it was going to be my last time to see her.”
Julia Martin was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:37 p.m. from multiple sharp force injuries.
Harvey was pronounced dead at 7:18 p.m. at the same hospital. His death was ruled a suicide.
MAN WHO CAUGHT THIEF KILLED
Muhammadu Osmanu, a twenty-year-old Fulani man on Thursday entered a provision shop at Mpamu near Hweehwee, a community in the Kwahu East District of the Eastern region ostensibly to steal.
PPP TAKES EC; WANTS BALLOTING STOPPED
WHY HAS THE ECONOMY COLLAPSED IF YOU WHAT WORKS – BAWUMIA TO MAHAMA
PLEDGE TO RESTORE NURSING TRAINEE ALLOWANCE IS 419 PROMISE – BAWUMIA
DON’T DRUG US INTO NEEDLESS DEBATE – NPP TELLS PPP
ACCIDENT ON MOTORWAY; 4 IN CRITICAL CONDITION
IN THE NEWS
- PPP TAKES EC; WANTS BALLOTING STOPPED
The Flag bearer of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom has taken the Electoral Commission (EC), to the High Court over the decision to disqualify him from the December 7 presidential election.
- WHY HAS THE ECONOMY COLLAPSED IF YOU WHAT WORKS – BAWUMIA TO MAHAMAMAHAMA
In a response to President John Mahama’s claim that the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) proposals for the economy will not work, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has asked the President to fix the economy with what he thinks would work.
- PLEDGE TO RESTORE NURSING TRAINEE ALLOWANCE IS 419 PROMISE – BAWUMIA
The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) vice-presidential candidate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has described the recent promise by President John Mahama that the NDC government will bring back fully the nursing training allowance was a 419 promise.
- DON’T DRUG US INTO NEEDLESS DEBATE – NPP TELLS PPP
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said it would not be dragged into “needless” debates with the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) over the disqualification of some presidential aspirants.
- ACCIDENT ON MOTORWAY; 4 IN CRITICAL CONDITIONCONDITION
Twenty-seven people sustained various degrees of injuries when the vehicle on which they were travelling was involved in an accident on the Accra-Tema motorway on Friday.