Anybody who was taught the famous preschool song There Are Seven Continents In The World might have to update their lyrics. A group of scientists say they have found evidence that there is in fact an eighth continent, which they are calling Zealandia.
The “hidden continent” is almost entirely submerged under water apart from the North and South Islands of New Zealand, New Caledonia, and other islands dotted across that part of the Pacific Ocean. Zealandia is vast at 4.9 million square kilometres (around the size of India) but it would still be considered small by continental standards.
Earth has a brand-new continent called Zealandia, and it’s been hiding in plain sight for ages. Geologists have determined there’s a new continent called “Zealandia.” Recent satellite data and rock samples led to the conclusion. New Zealand and New Caledonia are part of the new continent, which is about as big as greater India. The new continent could have economic and geopolitical implications. #geologist #newcontinent #zealandia #newzealand #earth #
The research was conducted by eleven well-known scientists and geologists who said it was no longer correct to consider the area part of Australasia. “The … area of continental crust is large and separate enough to be considered not just as a continental fragment or a microcontinent, but as an actual continent – Zealandia,” they wrote.“This is not a sudden discovery but a gradual realisation; as recently as ten years ago we would not have had the accumulated data or confidence in interpretation to write this paper.”
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The idea of Zealandia has been around since 1995 but was only used to describe the region, rather than a specific continent up until now. There are four criteria for a continent: land that pokes up from the ocean floor, diversity of rocks, a less dense crust than the ocean floor around, and lastly “well-defined limits around a large enough area”. According to the new research, Zealandia fits the bill for all four. You can read their full paper here.
The new continent may now have some travellers readjusting how much of their continental bucket list they’ve actually visited. Anybody who claims to have been to all seven continents without having gone further than Australia may now have to make the trip to New Zealand or New Caledonia to tick that final eighth continental box.
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