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Scientists Discover a Missing Continent After 155 Million Years

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A new study reveals that the once-connected landmass known as Argoland separated from western Australia 155 million years ago due to tectonic processes.

According to Live Science, the continent dissolved as these forces stretched and forced it out, scattering its vestiges throughout Southeast Asia.

Scientists Discover a Missing Continent After 155 Million Years
Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash

“We knew it had to be somewhere north of Australia, so we expected to find it in Southeast Asia,” said lead study author Eldert Advokaat, a researcher at Utrecht University in the Netherlands’ department of Earth sciences.

In a recent study, Advokaat and his colleagues rebuilt the course of the divided continent in an online publication published in the journal Gondwana Research on October 19. Although remnants of the former land were found strewn throughout Myanmar and Indonesia, attempts to reassemble Argoland from these shards failed because “nothing fit,” according to Advokaat.

Advokaat and his group created the name “Argopelago” to refer to the broken-up remains of Argoland in reaction to this problem.

According to Live Science, which quoted Advokaat, “their reconstruction of the continent’s history may shed light on the region’s past climate, which would have cooled as oceans formed between the shreds of Argoland.”

He continued, “We didn’t lose a continent; it was just already a very extended and fragmented ensemble.” “That process goes on for 50 to 60 million years, and around 155 million years ago, that whole collage of these ribbon continents and intervening oceans starts drifting over to Southeast Asia.”

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