Maybe an entire continent has gone unnoticed in our eyes. A group of geologists say it is submerged in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, a vast expanse of underwater land that stands out from New Zealand, New Caledonia and other islands, and is large enough to be considered a separate continental mass, Which they call Zealandia. The proposal is published in the journal GSA Today, of the Geological Society of America.
Zealandia covers 4.9 million square kilometers, of which 94% are under water. The team at the GNS Science Research Institute in New Zealand believes that it is a distinctly different geological entity, as it meets all criteria applied to other continents, such as elevation of the terrain above the surrounding area, distinctive geology, A well-defined area and a crust thicker than the one at the bottom of the ocean. It covers New Zealand, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island.
It is not the first time that Zealandia is proposed as continent. The subject has been the subject of debate for two decades, but the authors of the latest work are increasingly convinced of its existence.
The geological reason
If this proposal were accepted by the scientific community, Zealandia would become the seventh continent according to the traditional model that includes Europe, Asia, America, Africa, Oceania and Antarctica. There are other models that depend on the cultural area: “Are North America and South America continents truly independent with their connection through the isthmus of Panama? Where and why can Europe, Africa and Asia be distinguished in view of the Bosphorus and Sinai? ” They suggest a geological reason for dividing the continents, so that they are large identifiable areas lying on the continental crust. This reasoning leads them to think that Zealandia should also have its own identity. According to them, one has only to look at a barometric map to appreciate the issue.