A recent paper published in the journal Geological Society of America talks about an 80,000-year-old lost continent under New Zealand. A team of scientists claims the mass of land roughly two-thirds the size of Australia is a long-lost continent, part of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana, that slowly sank just beneath the ocean surface.
The newly proposed massive earth formation is 94 percent submerged and stretches across 1.74 million square miles, according to the researchers’ calculations. However, geological formations can be observed at its highest points, as it protrudes above the water level in the form of what we now call New Caledonia and New Zealand.
The researchers also gave a name to the recently discovered land formation: Zealandia. One of the researchers and also the author of “Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent”, Nick Mortimer, believes that if someone were to pull the plug on the oceans surrounding New Zealand, Zealandia’s geological formations with mountain chains could be clearly observed. He added that the recent discovery only confirmed some theories that circulated in the past that claimed New Caledonia, New Zealand, and the Chatham Islands were, in fact, only the highest points of a submerged lost continent.
“Since about the 1920s, from time to time in geology papers people used the word “continental” to describe various parts of New Zealand and the Catham Islands and New Caledonia. Now, we feel we’ve gathered enough information to change “continental” to the noun “continent”, said Mortimer.
According to the researchers’ study, the land formation meets all the geological standards to be classified as a continent. Hence, Mortimer and his team noted Zealandia has high elevation compared to the ocean crust, well-defined limits around a large area that could pass as a continent, and an array of other geological components that support their theory, including a crust thicker than the ocean crust.
However, the researchers understand that their theories so far only represent the making of a geological case and should be regarded as an opening argument rather than a closing statement. Mortimer ultimately said he and his team of researchers will be most satisfied with their work when Zealandia will appear in atlases and maps sometime in the future.
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