What Is Sunda Shelf Theory?


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The Sunda Shelf Theory is a theory that suggests that before the Ice Age, Borneo was attached to the continent. This will have occurred 11,000 years BC and people who may have lived there will have migrated to either China or India. This is why the islands of Sunderlands contain many Asian mammals. Some of these animals include:
  • Rhinoceros
  • Apes
  • Tigers
  • Elephants
  • Monkeys
  • Tapirs
Sunderland is now considered to be an area in Southeast Asia which is part of the Asian continental shelf. This shelf was previously exposed during the ice age. The countries included in Sunderland include:
  • Malay
  • Borneo
  • Java
  • Bali
  • Madura
  • Sumatra
  • The smaller islands surrounding the area
The Sunderland Shelf covers an area of 1.85 million km and the depths of the sea are relatively shallow, standing at no more than 50 meters across the whole area. The majority of areas of the Sunderland Shelf have a sea depth of around 20 meters which means that the tides and currents are very strong. The shelf has been formed through millions of years of volcanic activity combined with the land of Asia slowly eroding.
Much of the coastal areas of the Sunderland Shelf were badly damaged in 2004 when a massive tsunami struck the area. This devastating natural disaster is thought to have killed over 230,000 people over 14 different countries. The waves reached a massive 30 meters which were triggered by an earthquake, the third largest earthquake to ever be recorded. It took an extremely long time for the countries in the Sunderland Shelf to recover from the devastation but the countries are all now back on track.

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