Scientists have discovered fragments of a continent, known as Argoland, in Southeast Asia. These fragments were initially part of Australia and have drifted towards the eastern side of Indonesia. This continent was once part of a 155 million-year-old landmass that stretched as wide as the United States.
Eldert Advokaat, an author and geologist at Utrecht University, explained, “We were dealing with islands of information, which is why our research took so long.” He added that their research spanned over seven years.
The recently discovered “fragments” of continents are located in the surrounding areas of Southeast Asia and were initially part of Australia.
— JeepsyX (@JeepsyX)
Scientists found fragments of ribbon continents in Southeast Asia but struggled to piece them back together. This chain is known as “Argoland,” which initially started as a solid chunk.
The situation in Southeast Asia differs from places like Africa and South America, where continents are broken into nearly two pieces. Argoland shattered into many pieces, obstructing the view of the continent’s journey. A map, including the current location of Argoland, was shared, revealing that the fragments have drifted mostly toward the eastern side of Indonesia, with some migrating towards Myanmar.
Starting from this assumption, researchers found that Argoland had not disappeared. Instead, it survived as a highly extended and fragmented ensemble under the islands to the east of Indonesia. With this discovery, scientists traced the journey of Argoland over the past 155 million years.
As it is not a solid landmass but a series of microcontinents, Advokaat and colleagues from Utrecht University coined a new term for Argoland: “Argopelago.”
The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Gondwana Research on October 19, not only provide clues about the evolution of our planet but also shed light on how our current biodiversity and ecosystems developed.
Scientists have unravelled the Wallace Line, an imaginary barrier running through the middle of Indonesia that separates mammals, birds, and humans on Southeast Asian islands. This barrier has long puzzled scientists due to its significant impact on the wildlife of the islands.
The barrier has become a mystery for scientists who are astonished by the fact that the island’s wildlife is so distinctly represented. In the western part, mammals like apes, tigers, and elephants are prevalent. However, in the east, one can find marsupials and cockatoos—animals generally associated with Australia. This difference could be attributed to Argoland, which once harboured its own unique life but drifted away from Australia and collided with Southeast Asia. Experts assert that these reconstructions are crucial for understanding processes such as the evolution of climate and biodiversity or even for identifying sources of raw materials.