A massive discovery under New Zealand opens up a whole new world to scientists that nobody realized was there.
Forget the Lost City of Atlantis, scientists have just discovered something way bigger and potentially more groundbreaking: a lost continent. A giant land mass that they believe sank beneath the waves 100 million years ago has been discovered underneath New Zealand, and scientists are dubbing it “Zealandia.”
The continent is mostly, but not entirely, submerged beneath the South Pacific Ocean, and it covers an area of about 1.9 million square miles, making it about as big as India. About 94 percent of it is underwater, claims the study, which was published in the Geological Society of America’s Journal.
Researchers think it was part of the Gondwana super-continent, which broke away about 100 million years ago. Scientists never considered New Zealand as part of the Australian continent, and this study confirms that the island was probably part of its own large land mass at one point in time.
The abstract states: “Earth’s surface is divided into two types of crust, continental and oceanic, and into 14 major tectonic plates (Fig. 1; Holmes, 1965; Bird, 2003). In combination, these divisions provide a powerful descriptive framework in which to understand and investigate Earth’s history and processes. In the past 50 years there has been great emphasis and progress in measuring and modeling aspects of plate tectonics at various scales (e.g., Kearey et al., 2009).
“Simultaneously, there have been advances in our understanding of continental rifting, continent-ocean boundaries (COBs), and the discovery of a number of micro-continental fragments that were stranded in the ocean basins during supercontinent breakups (e.g., Buck, 1991; Lister et al., 1991; Gaina et al., 2003; Franke, 2013; Eagles et al., 2015). But what about the major continents (Fig. 1)? Continents are Earth’s largest surficial solid objects, and it seems unlikely that a new one could ever be proposed.”