Working areas
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Bathymetric map of the Southwest Pacific shows the micro-continent "Zealandia" (marked by the red line) of which the islands of New Zealand only form a small part (approximately 15%); (see figure). The eastern portion of Zealandia is dominated by the shallow submarine Campbell Plateau, Bounty Trough and Chatham Rise to the southeast and east of the South Island of New Zealand. The area consists mainly of thick continental crust. However, volcanism on the Campbell Plateau, Chatham Rise and Bounty Trough continued over the last 100 million years. The widespread and long-lived nature of this volcanism is enigmatic. Another important working area of the ZEALANDIA research project is The Hikurangi Plateau (dark blue) which covers 350,000 square kilometers and consists primarily of volcanic rocks. This plateau is believed to be a "Large Igeneous Province" (LIP). Further important plate tectonic structures in this area of the Southwest Pacific include:

  • the Kermadec-Tonga-subduction zone, which extends to the north from the southern end of the New Zealandic north island towards Samoa,
  • the Louisville seamount chain which represents a hotspot track,
  • the Osburn Trough, which may be an ancient mid-ocean-ridge (MOR), and
  • the Wishbone Scarp, which represents either a tectonic fracture zone or an ancient spreading center.

This simplified bathymetric map of the ocean to the east and southeast of New Zealand shows, that sampling will be carried out in water depth up to 5.500 m during the SO 168 ZEALANDIA expedition. The red line marks a possible track for the cruise. The yellow fields on the Campbell plateau show the areas which will be sampled on the following cruise by the Alfred-Wegener Institute (SO 169 CAMP).