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Friday, February 17, 2017

Earth Has a Hidden 8th Continent

Based on geological definitions of a continent, the Earth actually has a lost eighth continent, known as Zealandia. Most of this continent is submerged beneath the sea, while a tiny sliver, including New Zealand, is above the water.
Credit: GSA Today 2017

Earth has eight continents, and world maps should reflect this, geologists say.
The eighth, a lost continent called Zealandia, isn't a huge landmass that geographers have somehow missed. Rather, only small bits — including New Zealand, New Caledonia and a few other specks of land in the vast Pacific Ocean — are above sea level. The rest of this continent lies beneath the waves, a new study suggests.
"I hope Zealandia will now start to appear on world maps which show the other continents," said Nick Mortimer, a geologist with GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand. "There is an extra one, and it is as real as all the others." [Photos: The World's Weirdest Geological Formations]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Zealandia (continent))
For other uses, see Zealandia (disambiguation).

Topography of Zealandia. The linear ridges running north-northeast and southwest away from New Zealand are not considered part of the continental fragment, nor are Australia (upper left), Fiji or Vanuatu (top centre).[1]
Zealandia (pronunciation: /zˈlændiə/), also known as the New Zealand continent or Tasmantis,[2] 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.[3] It has variously been described as a continental fragment, a microcontinent and a continent.[4] The name and concept for Zealandia were proposed by Bruce Luyendyk in 1995.[5]
The land mass may have been completely submerged about 23 Ma ago,[6][7] and most of it (93%) remains submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean.[8] 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.[9] This was the argument which made news in 2017, when geologists from New ZealandNew Caledonia and Australia concluded that Zealandia fulfills all the necessary requirements to be considered a continent, rather than a microcontinent or continental fragment.[4]
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.[10] Offshore mineral resources include iron sandsvolcanic massive sulfides and ferromanganese nodule deposits.[11]

Earth Has a Hidden 8th Continent, Geologists Say:

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