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Six Times The Size of Madagascar, ‘Zealandia’ The Mysterious 8th Continent

A group of geologists stole the world’s headlines when they announced the discovery of Zealandia or Te Riu-a-Māui in the Māori language in 2017.

The continent is estimated to be 4.9 million square kilometers, which is comparatively six times the size of Madagascar. Although encyclopedias, maps and world search engines still firmly state that there are only seven continents so far, the team is very confident of telling the rest of the world that the notion is wrong.

The latest discovery breaks records as the eighth and smallest and youngest continent in the world.

“This is an example of how something very obvious can take a while to uncover,” said Andy Tulloch, a geologist at the New Zealand Crown Research Institute GNS Science. He was part of the team that discovered Zealandia.

Picture: Forbes

Zealandia is hidden beneath New Zealand and is covered by the Pacific Ocean around it. The sinking of the ‘continent’ occurred about 23 million years ago.

Today, New Zealand is the largest part of Zealandia that is above sea level, followed by New Caledonia.
Given that 94 percent of Zealandia is submerged and below the surface of the water, determining the age of the continent and its mapping efforts are so difficult.

Recent research suggests that Zealandia is 1 billion years old, about twice what geologists initially estimated.

A period of 375 years passed before scientists discovered the eighth continent, which had long been hidden ‘beneath’ an island nation.
However, the mystery of its existence has not yet been fully revealed.

Sources: Geo TV, BBC

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