New Zealand may be part of a submerged continent 

Posted: February 17, 2017 by oldbrew in Geology

Credit: GSA Today /

Credit: GSA Today /

Maybe there will be some counter-arguments but it’s a novel idea.

Scientists say they have identified a new continent, and called it Zealandia, reports

In a new paper, a team of 11 geologists have proposed that a region of the Pacific Ocean east of Australia and containing New Zealand and New Caledonia, be considered a continent.

Geographically speaking, six continents are recognised: Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Eurasia, North America, and South America. Eurasia is the geographical landmass that includes Europe and Asia.

At 4.9 million square kilometres, Zealandia would be Earth’s smallest continent.

It is also the “youngest, thinnest and most submerged” of the continents, as 94 per cent of the landmass is submerged, the geologists wrote.

In the paper, titled Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent, the geologists argue that Zealandia has all four attributes necessary to be considered a continent.

View the rest of the report here.

  1. […] Source: New Zealand may be part of a submerged continent  | Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  2. Brett Keane says:

    Being a bloody Kiwi, I first thought, how embarrassing and ridiculous this is – we’ve known about this for years, but it is a mile underwater. Some continent, where the heck is it? But they do seem to put a reasonable case for study with our developing underwater sensors. Fair enough GNS et al, go for it, it’s a new world to humans. But a Continent? I just hope the post-normal rubbish has not infested geology too. At least I didn’t see warming mentioned….

  3. DavidH says:

    There’s been a Zealandia topic in wikipedia since July 2007, calling it a continent back then.

  4. Mjw says:

    New Zealand, joined to Australia by C entrelink.

  5. oldbrew says:

    DavidH – thanks, I’ve added a link to the wikipedia page. Not such a novel idea after all 🙂

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Even older, they have basically re-discovered Lemuria… a “lost continent” located in the Indian to Pacific ocean area… though fables and centuries grew the size of it…

  7. oldbrew says:

    Article, pp. 27–35 | Abstract | PDF (450KB)

    Click to access GSATG321A.1.pdf

    Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent


    Zealandia illustrates that the large and the obvious in natural science can be overlooked. Based on various lines of geological and geophysical evidence, particularly those accumulated in the last two decades, we argue that Zealandia is not a collection of partly submerged continental fragments but is a coherent 4.9 Mkm2 continent (Fig. 1). Currently used conventions and definitions of continental crust, continents, and microcontinents require no modification to accommodate Zealandia.

    Satellite gravity data sets, New Zealand’s UNCLOS program, and marine geological expeditions have been major influences in promoting the big picture view necessary to define and recognize Zealandia (Fig. 2). Zealandia is approximately the area of greater India and, like India, Australia, Antarctica, Africa, and South America, was a former part of the Gondwana supercontinent (Figs. 3 and 5). As well as being the seventh largest geological continent (Fig. 1), Zealandia is the youngest, thinnest, and most submerged (Fig. 4). The scientific value of classifying Zealandia as a continent is much more than just an extra name on a list. That a continent can be so submerged yet unfragmented makes it a useful and thought-provoking geodynamic end member in exploring the cohesion and breakup of continental crust.