Green light for recognition of the new continent – Zealand


Zealand’s land mass remnants with about two-thirds the size of Australia, 94% of which are submerged, represent a hitherto unknown territory that is closer to being recognized.

Zealand is then the name proposed for the new continent that is submerged of the southwest side of the Pacific. This is a territory so far unknown A group of researchers argues in the scientific article “Zeeland: the hidden continent of the Earth”, published in GSA Today, the journal Geological Society of America. In this article, scientists further claim that the vast land mass of Zealand is large enough to form a separate continent.

Thus, in the classification of the scientists, this new territory represents the 7th continent, in a list where they distinguish Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica. This occupies almost 5 million square kilometers (in fact, 4.9 million), of which 94% are submerged in the waters of the Pacific. This area encompasses not only New Zealand, but also New Caledonia and various groups of other smaller islands such as Norfolk, Lord Howe or the Elizabeth and Middleton reefs.

Norfolk Island

“We are talking about a large piece of land, even if it is submerged”, Nick Mortimer told The Guardian, a New Zealand geologist and one of the authors of the article. Although scientists have already applied for Zealand to be recognized as a continent, about 20 years ago, it is only now that the process appears to be closer to receiving the green light.

Bruce Luyendyk, a North American geophysicist, was the first to name it Zealand in 1995. Since then, the co-authors of the paper have been saying that this denomination has felt a “moderate absorption” but that it is not yet Duly recognized by some international scientists.

Set of Lord Howe Islands

Both Nick Mortimer and the team of other researchers who led the study from the Universities of Wellington, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia, as well as geologists from the Geological Survey of New Caledonia, claim that Zealand has all the geological elements Necessary to be considered as continent. According to a publication in The Guardian, it was in the year of 2002 that Mortimer and other investigators began to reconstruct the continent, which is covered with water, having even made a map with the proper coordinates of the same.

In Mortimer’s interview with The Guardian, it was explained that the realization of the map “was when the coin really fell”, because it was “from that moment that the map literally became the script to find the four corners of Zealand So that one could prove its geology as a continent”.

Still to be confirmed, Zealand will be the 7th and smallest continent of all and according to scientists, this territory was part of the supercontinent Gondwana, which also included Antarctica, Africa, Madagascar, South America, India, Seychelles, Nova Zealand, New Caledonia, New Guinea and Australia. In turn, Gondwana was part of Pangeia.

The Gondwana supercontinent, formed during the Jurassic period, began to separate about 200 million years ago, as a consequence of the movement of tectonic plates. Even though Zealand has a large part of its submerged land, this should not be an impediment to being considered as a continent, since it has all the necessary conditions: “it is quite clear that this entire area is not part of the ocean, since Which has all the characteristics of a continent”, said Barry Kohn, a professor at the University of Melbourne.