According to your school, you have been taught that the Earth is divided into six or seven continents. The difference in the number – in which we are not going to go into detail now – is because for cultural reasons Europe and Asia are sometimes recognized as two separate entities despite being one continental mass. (Zealandia)
- The continent disappeared 200 million years ago that they found under the waters of the Mauritius island
However, now, there is a new continent that wants to join the club.
It is called Zealandia and is a large expanse of land submerged almost entirely under the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
The highest peak of this landmass is what we all know as New Zealand.
The aspiration to be recognized as a continent is not new. This is a fight that began more than two decades ago.
But the new study – published by the Geological Society of the United States – that defends this position, represents the first robust research and validated by other academics that describes and defines Zealandia like a new continent.
The continent, the researchers explain, has an area of 5 million km2, equivalent to two-thirds of its neighbor Australia.
- What is Neopangea? Will the continents re-unite in one?
94% of the area is under water, while only a few islands and three major masses of land surface: the North and South Islands of New Zealand and New Caledonia.
One might think that being above water is a fundamental trait for reaching the continent.
However, scientists believe that there are other more important criteria, to which Zealandia fits in its entirety.
- Elevation over the surrounding area
- Distinguishing Geology
- A well-defined area
- A crust thicker than the surrounding ocean floor
How is the new member-ratified?
For geologist Nick Mortimer, lead author of the study, “the value of classifying Zealandia as a continent is much more than adding a new name to the list.”
“The fact that a continent can be so submerged while not fragmented” is very useful “to explore the cohesion and fragmentation of the continental crust.”
When will Zealandia enter the club of the continents?
Unlike Pluto, where its expulsion from the list of planets was to be approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), there is no scientific entity that formally recognizes the continents.
So this change will depend on other studies in the future ratify this theory ed and eventually enter the new continent in popular culture, maps, and textbooks.