Zealandia, the "lost eighth continent", is set to be fully explored for the first time.
The continent disappeared beneath the waves 75 million years ago, during the Mesozoic Era, after breaking away from Australia.
Scientists from the International Ocean Discovery Program have now set sail to investigate the underwater landmass, which covers 3 million square kilometres, extending from New Zealand up to New Caledonia.
Calling the area "Earth's hidden continent" in a paper published by the Geological Society of America, scientists hope to record how Zealandia changed over time.
The drill ship, Joides Resolution, will recover sediments and rocks lying 300 metres beneath the seafloor.
Fossil evidence will be analysed to record how Zealandia changed over time. Sub-seafloor life, earthquake-generating zones and extreme climates will also be areas of focus.
"This region was important in influencing global changes," says co-chief scientist Jerry Dickens.
"As Australia moved north and the Tasman Sea developed, global circulation patterns changed and water depths over Zealandia fluctuated."
I wonder what the sudden media fascination with Zealandia is.
Those Aussies really are just across the ditch eh? Doesn't this make Australia our west island? ;)
I wonder too Rose. Guess we're in for some interesting developments ahead like the 'great polar shift and continental drift' and everyone from the North (soon to be the south) all drooling at the thoughta steaking their claims in advance. Back in 2011 when I dreamed I looked out my window to see an advancing army of foot soldiers hard on the heels of 2 fighter planes crashing in quick succession in the mangroves in the side river down the hill from me, they approached from the valley to the south of me and in my dream I was puzzled and wondered, 'shouldn't they be coming from the North? What's happened? Minerals=mine-rules. A little pic I took here in the Far North last nite on dusk mite give some clues.
that toxic soups got a little bit of everything in it
Yeah, I published this one solely because there IS an obsessive focus on "Zealandia", which is actually something geologists have known about since as long as I can remember. I'd say that, considering survey vessels are involved, this has plenty to with mineral resources and land claims (submerged land that is).
The Elite making sure they get their slice of NZ in it's broadest sense.