Scientists are just now discovering some of the hidden secrets of the “lost continent” of Zealandia.
Located just east of Australia, the International Ocean Discovery Program has collected over 8,000 sediment core samples by drilling into the region’s seabed.
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One huge find made so far is that the continent Zealandia was most likely a lot shallower than it currently is.
The expedition's co-chief scientist, Gerald Dickens, said in a press release that “...microscopic shells of organisms that lived in warm shallow seas, and of spores and pollen from land plants” show the lost continent’s climate was very different in the past.
Scientists aren't quite sure how Zealandia split from Australia, but they do know that it broke off from the continent around 40-50 million years ago.
The core samples taken from Zealandia are like “tape recorders” and will provide the scientists with a look at the lost continent over its history.
Jamie Allen, program director for the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences told National Geographic, "if you have an understanding of why Earth's climate changed in the past, that helps you model it for the future."