Welcome To 'Zealandia': Scientists Discover An Eighth Continent

Seems a little late, but OK

New Zealand: not just an isolated haven for billionaires to flock to when the impending apocalypse arrives, but also the location of an eighth continent.

It's name is Zealandia, a huge landmass almost entirely submerged in the southwest Pacific that includes New Zealand, the only part of it that actually shows above the water.

A paper published in the Geological Society of America's Journal states that Zealandia measures five million sq km (1.9m sq miles), about two thirds of neighbouring Australia, and deserves recognition as a continent.

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New Zealand's North and South Islands and New Caledonia are the only parts of the area that are visible to the human eye, with the other 94% having sunk somewhere between 60-85 million years ago.

And while you might think that most of it being above water is some pretty basic criteria for a continent to meet, scientists claim that, actually, it only requires the following:

  • elevation above the surrounding area
  • distinctive geology
  • a well-defined area
  • a crust thicker than the regular ocean floor

But while scientists are keen to give official recognition to Zealandia, there's actually no scientific body that officially recognises continents, meaning its down to the public to decided whether it deserves any sort of official status. So your call, basically.