About the episode
On the northwestern edge of Australia, a 5,000-kilometre-long piece of the continent broke off 155 million years ago. Geologists know this because the void can be seen deep beneath the surface of the sea. The basin in which this young continent, called Argoland, once existed. But where is he now?
Previous research showed that it must have drifted in a northerly direction. So you would expect it somewhere around the islands of Southeast Asia. But there is no big continent under those islands.
After seven years of research, geologists from Utrecht University have now been able to find out what really happened to the shifting landmass. The continent still exists, but it began to break up into smaller pieces 300 million years ago. Pieces that moved, but they all arrived at a new destination around the same time. They are still there, spread out under the forests of large parts of Indonesia and Myanmar.
Years of searching have finally led scientists to their treasure trove of fragments, but this isn’t just a nice reward. These types of reconstructions are important for understanding the evolution of biodiversity and climate, for finding raw materials and for understanding orogenesis and plate tectonics.
Read more about the research here: Emerald Shards: How the Lost Continent Resurfaced