Ancient formation, distant future
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(Redirected from Zealandia (continent))
For other uses, see Zealandia (disambiguation).
Zealandia (pronunciation: //), also known as the New Zealand continent or Tasmantis, is a nearly submerged mass of continental crust that sank after breaking away from Australia 60–85 Ma (million years) ago, having separated from Antarctica between 85 and 130 Ma ago. It has variously been described as a continental fragment, a microcontinent and a continent. The name and concept for Zealandia were proposed by Bruce Luyendyk in 1995.
The land mass may have been completely submerged about 23 Ma ago, and most of it (93%) remains submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean. How strongly Bollons Seamount (south of the Chatham Islands) remains connected to Zealandia is unknown. With a total area of approximately 4,920,000 km2 it is the world's largest current microcontinent, more than twice the size of the next-largest microcontinent and more than half the size of the Australian continent. As such, and due to other geological considerations, such as crustal thickness and density, it is arguably a continent in its own right. This was the argument which made news in 2017, when geologists from New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia concluded that Zealandia fulfills all the necessary requirements to be considered a continent, rather than a microcontinent or continental fragment.
Zealandia supports substantial inshore fisheries and contains New Zealand's largest gas field, near Taranaki. Permits for oil exploration in the Great South Basin were issued in 2007. Offshore mineral resources include iron sands, volcanic massive sulfides and ferromanganese nodule deposits.
Earth Has a Hidden 8th Continent, Geologists Say:
'via Blog this'