» Home > In the News


6 November 2014

The volcanic island of Vanuatu in New Caledonia is prone to earthquakes and is positioned near an ocean trench – or fault. Scientists and geologists from New Zealand's James Cook university have discovered Vanuatu is not all it seems. Apparently, the volcanism is laid down on top of an ancient fragment of the Australian continent – which is situated 2200km away. Similar pieces of stranded continent exist in other parts of the world – in the Indian Ocean for instance, and Iceland (and various other locations in the Atlantic and other oceans). How fragments of continent survive the Plate Tectonics process is unknown – as the ocean floors are young. They should be subducted – but appear to have got stuck for some reason whilst the bigger part of Australia has become lodged further afield.

The continental slab has been dated 3 billion years ago – the same age as some of the rocks on Australia. However, the separation, it is being suggested, took place around 100 million years ago, in the early Cretaceous. The university spokesman and lead author said, 'it shouldn't be there' and later, 'this calls for a rethink of how we calculate the rates and processes of generating new crust on Earth … '. 

At http://phys.org/print334339557.html … a diamond mine in Angola has come across 70 fossilised tracks of dinosaurs, crocodilia, and an early mammal. The miners came across a small sedimentary basin that has been dated 118 million years ago – once again in the early Cretaceous. It was found in the crater of a kimberlite pipe.

Skip to content