Zealandia : Missing Continent
Scientists have recently confirmed the existence of a “missing” continent known as Zealandia
- Zealandia is a long, narrow microcontinentthat is mostly submerged in the South Pacific Ocean.
- Zealandia was formally one of the constituent continents of the ancient supercontinent called Gondwana, which also included Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia over 500 million years ago.
- It began to “pull away” from Gondwana roughly 105 million years ago.
- As Zealandia started pulling away, it began to sink beneath the waves, with over 94 percent remaining underwater for millennia.
- It is approximately 1.89 million square miles (4.9 million square km) in size, about half the size of Australia.
- The vast majority of this new continent lies beneath 6,560 feet (2km) of water.
- The part of Zealandia which is above water forms the foundation of New Zealand’s north and south islands as well as the island of New Caledonia.
- The existence of Zealandia was first recorded in 1642 by Dutch businessman and sailor Abel Tasman, who was on a mission to find the “great Southern Continent,” or Terra Australis.