Current Affairs – February 2017

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Scientists claim discovery of Zealandia a submerged continent in Pacific Ocean

Geologists have claimed discovery of new geological continent named Zealandia submerged beneath the south-west Pacific Ocean.

Zealandia is around 4.5-million square km land mass and is 94% under water. Only its highest points — New Zealand and New Caledonia are visible. 

Key Facts
  • Zealandia is two-thirds the size of Australia and spreads out over 4.9-million-square kilometres of continental crust. It was once a part of Australia.
  • It is believed that it had broken off from Antarctica about 100 million years ago, and then from Australia about 80 million years ago as part of the breakup of super-continent Gondwanaland and sank beneath sea.
  • Sea-floor samples show that Zealandia consists of light continental crust and not the dark volcanic rocks that make up nearby underwater plateaus.

zealandia

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Barren Island: India’s only live volcano active again

According to scientists from Goa based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), India’s only live volcano at Barren Island in the Andaman and Nicobar has become active again.

After lying dormant for 150 years, Barren Island volcano had erupted in 1991 and since then it is showing sporadic activity. Now it is erupting in small episodes of five to 10 minutes.

Key Facts
  • According to scientists, the active Barren island volcano is spewing smoke, ash and lava once again.
  • It is claimed that volcanoes is erupting the rising magma formed deep in the mantle due to the melting of the subducted Indian Ocean crust.
  • Scientists have sampled sediments and water and also have recovered coal-like black pyroclastic material of volcanic ejecta. These samples will help in deciphering nature of present and past volcanic activity in region.
  • The volcanic island is part of Andaman islands. Its northern part is barren and is uninhabited. It is also devoid of vegetation.

Baren island

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