A new continent hidden in the South Pacific Ocean, by the name of Zealandia, has just been discovered!
Just when we thought that mother Earth is running out of space to comfortably fit our world’s population, she surprises us once again. Researchers are convinced that they have uncovered the world’s eighth continent, completely separate from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, North America, Antarctica and Australia.
"It fits into neither category of micro-continent nor a full-blown continent"
Currently, this surprising find lies in the South Pacific Ocean, beneath New Zealand. It has been established in the Geological Society of America’s Journal, GSA that Zealandia is measured to be two-thirds the size of Australia and 94% of it is submerged underwater.
Zealandia is supposedly part of a massive ancient super-continent, dubbed Gondwana or Gondwanaland – that included Australia and most of the remaining Southern Hemisphere. Consequently, this super-sized continent broke apart roughly 180 million years ago with some pieces sinking into the ocean.
Currently, geologists are fighting for Zealandia to receive rightful recognition as the world’s eighth continent. This fight has been dragged on for more than 20 years, resulting in failure each time because most of the landscape is below sea level.
"Researchers are convinced that they have uncovered the world’s eighth continent"
Nick Mortimer, a geologist at GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand, mused: “If a plug could be pulled on the world’s ocean, it would be obvious that Zealandia stands out about 3,000 metres above the ocean crust.” Mortimer, together with a team of geologists, have checked off boxes that meets the usual definitions of a continent. Such as the region of Zealandia consists of continental rocks like granite unlike the denser volcanic basalt that forms ocean crust. Moreover, what could have prevented Zealandia from being officially recognised as a continent could be because of its size, it fits into neither category of micro-continent nor a full-blown continent. Richard Ernst, a geologist at Carleton University in Ottawa, defines Zealandia as ‘a grey area’. However, he suggests that newly-coined Zealandia could very well be the bridging point between a microcontinent and a full-developed continent, which could bring about a fitting term such as mini-continent.
Earlier in February, scientists from South Africa announced the finding of a proposed new continent, named Maurita, which is under the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. It is said that this section of land could very well be part of the breakage of the ancient Gondwana continent where Zealandia originates from.