- Web Desk
Scientists discover continent ‘Zealandia’ that had been missing for 375 years
- Web Desk
- Oct 26, 2023
WEB DESK: In a remarkable discovery, geoscientists have unveiled a continent that had remained concealed for nearly 375 years, despite historical speculation about its existence. The landmass is known as Zealandia, or Te Riu-a-Māui in the Māori language.
According to TN News, Zealandia boasts an expansive area of 1.89 million square miles. Its ancient origins can be traced back to its inclusion in the supercontinent Gondwana, which also encompassed most of Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia over 500 million years ago.
The first mention of Zealandia dates back to 1642 when Dutch businessman and sailor Abel Tasman set out on a voyage in search of the elusive “Great Southern Continent.” Though Tasman did not succeed in finding the new land, his encounters with the local Māori people provided crucial insights about the region, including the existence of a substantial landmass to the east.
It wasn’t until 2017 that geologists definitively confirmed the existence of Zealandia, which had been hiding in plain sight all along. Scientists reached a consensus regarding Zealandia, and they are still striving to comprehend the reasons behind its separation from Gondwana.
The majority of Zealandia lies submerged beneath the ocean, serving as an illustrative case for geologists at the Zealand Crown Research Institute GNS Science, demonstrating how something seemingly obvious can remain concealed for centuries.
Meanwhile, geologist Dr Tulloch noted that the process by which Zealandia began to detach from the supercontinent is not yet fully understood. His colleague, Nick Mortimer, who led the study, humorously remarked that the revelation was “kind of cool.”
He added, “If you think about it, every continent on the planet has different countries on it, [but] there are only three territories on Zealandia.”