Chungnam National University Department of Geological Sciences Professor Seung-Sep Kim and recent Ph.D. graduate Hakkyum Choi identified a new mantle domain named as Zealandia-Antarctic mantle through international collaboration along with researchers from the Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI), the United States, and France.
A joint research team from KOPRI and CNU explored the Australian-Antarctic Ridge using the icebreaker research vessel, Araon. They newly discovered Zealandia-Antarctic mantle distributed beneath the eastern part of Antarctic-New Zealand-Australia region.
This remarkable research outcome led by KOPRI scientist Dr. Sung-Hyun Park along with scientists from CNU, Harvard University, University of Wyoming, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution were published to the scientific journal Nature Geoscience in March 2019.
The new discovery of Zealandia–Antarctic mantle rejects the existing theory that the upper mantle is divided into the Pacific and Indian mantle types and that the two mantles meet at the long-accepted boundary, Australian–Antarctic Discordance, located between Australia and Antarctica.
For last 30 years, the concept that the Pacific mantle flows into the Indian mantle domain beneath the Australian–Antarctic Discordance has been widely used. However, this research identified a new Zealandia–Antarctic mantle exists between the Pacific and Indian mantles with a different origin.