The New Atlantis?
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NEW ZEALAND– The Geological Society of America has recently published that New Zealand sits upon a land formation that they’ve deemed as “Zealandia,” earth’s newly discovered continent . As it turns out, Australia and New Zealand are neighbors with one another, but actually sit on their own continents.
Bruce Luyendyk, a geophysicist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, says that Zealandia was never to be the new continent’s name. Rather, he used it to describe New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the growing number of submerged chunks of crust that broke off a region of Gondwana, a 200 million-year-old supercontinent.
“The reason I came up with this term is out of convenience,” Luyendyk previously told Business Insider. “They’re pieces of the same thing when you look at Gondwana. So I thought, ‘Why do you keep naming this collection of pieces as different things?'”
The land mass is estimated to be 1.8 million square miles. Islands such as New Caledonia and others also belong to the “new” continent.
While the findings were justpublished in 2017, the theory that there was a continent below New Zealand has been around since 1995. The theory of the submerged continent was first introduced by geophysicist Luyendyk. It’s been determined that it is not just a group of continental islands and fragments but that it has a continental crust large and separate enough to be officially declared a separate continent.
New Zealand and New Caledonia were previously considered to be a part of Australasia with Australia.
The Geological Society of America’s finding came out just after they published their finding of another submerged continent under the Indian Ocean.
“Calling Zealandia a continent is more of a formality and mostly a scientific interest,” said study co-author Vaughan Stagpoole, a geophysicist and head of the marine geoscience department at GNS Science, a New Zealand-funded research institute.