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Mystery Solved: Scientists Find Lost “Supercontinent”

By CM Chaney · November 12, 2023

In brief…

  • Scientists believe they've solved mystery of what happened to lost continent Argoland
  • Argoland split from ancient landmass around Australia/Southeast Asia, not Gondwana
  • It drifted northwest, leaving void now called Argo Abyssal Plain
  • Argoland may have been "argopelago" of continental fragments rather than one landmass
Scientists have solved the mystery of the ancient lost continent Argoland, determining it likely splintered off an ancient landmass near Australia and drifted northwest as continental fragments.  Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center / Wikimedia

Scientists believe they have solved the mystery of what happened to the ancient lost continent of Argoland. Argoland was thought to have broken off from the supercontinent Gondwana about 155 million years ago.

New research from Utrecht University in the Netherlands suggests Argoland actually splintered off from another massive continental landmass that was once located around modern-day Australia and Southeast Asia. This dramatic splitting of continents made Argoland’s location hard to uncover.

Using geological data from deep ocean drilling off Western Australia, scientists determined Argoland’s boundaries were likely around Southeast Asia.

The 3,106-mile-long landmass drifted away, leaving behind a void now called the Argo Abyssal Plain basin hidden under the ocean.

Analysis of the seafloor structure indicates Argoland drifted northwest after separating. Researchers now believe the continent may have been made up of microcontinental fragments with older ocean basins between them, termed an “argopelago.”

Argoland is said to have more closely resembled the continents of Greater Adria or Zealandia rather than today’s India. The study authors believe there are likely still continental fragments left rather than one hidden continent under the islands.