Hyderabad: Scientists at city-based National Geographical Research Institute (NGRI) have found volcanic passive continental margins beneath the Maitri Station in the East Antarctica. They have inferred that these margins are affected by the thermal events which were responsible for the Gondwana supercontinent break-up, including the Indian sub-continent.
Maitri is India’s second research station in the Antarctica. Studies are conducted there on intra crustal layers beneath this region.
NGRI scientists, led by Sandeep Gupta and Nagaraju Kanna and A. Akilan, conducted seismic studies and published a paper in the Polar Research journal.
Mr Sandeep Gupta said, “The earth is made of plates which constantly move and get together and get apart. This is called plate tectonics. The Gondwana supercontinent existed till 542 million years and broke into two 180 million years ago. The Western Half included America, Africa and the Eastern Half included the Indian sub-continent, Madagascar, Australia and Antarctica. Around 140 million years ago, Africa and America separated from the Western Half and in the Eastern Half, India and Madagascar separated from Australia and the Antarctica. Around 90 million years ago, Madagascar separated from the India sub-continent and 65 million years ago India got separated for Seychelles.”
“In our study, we tried to understand how this separation of Gondwana took place. The magma came up and plates got thinned up. Whatever is happening inside the earth is expressed on the surface. To know what is happening beneath the Maitri station we used seismic imaging. We have observed signatures at this crucial part that explained how the Antarctica got separated from Afr ica. We have used data collected over years. It is called passive as there is no activity,” Sandeep Gupta said.
“We investigated the crustal shear wave velocity model beneath the Maitri station, situated in the central Dronning Maud Land of the East Antarctica, through the receiver function modelling,” said the researchers.