Sometimes the knowledge that is familiar to everyone can be shaken by a new discovery. For example, even in childhood, most people remember that there are actually no white spots on the modern geographical map, and the Earth consists of 6 continents washed by oceans.
Relatively recently, a group of scientists from 11 geologists put forward a hypothesis about the existence of the seventh continent or the eighth part of the world. What is this continent and where is it located?
Is Zealand a new continent?
The difficulty in studying this continent is that most of it, namely 94%, is underwater. And only 6% of the land can be seen without sinking below sea level. It includes New Zealand and New Caledonia.
At the end of the last century, several scientists decided to explore this area. It all started with a study of the process of separating the eastern part of the ancient supercontinent called Gondwana. This is the reason for the assumption that New Zealand is not really aвЂќ fragment вЂњ of Australia, but part of an entire continent.
In addition, after studying the earth's crust in this region, scientists came to the conclusion that it belongs to the mainland type, and not to the island type. The researchers found volcanic, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks that formed under the influence of temperature and pressure. All this indicated that the land had previously protruded quite strongly above the water.
In December 2016, scientists outlined their arguments and assumptions in an article addressed to the Geological Society of America. Thus, the question of the existence of the seventh continent at the world level was raised.
To find out exactly how the continent is located and where its borders are, scientists used the help of a satellite. They studied the structure of the bottom and determined the location of Zealand.
Topographic map of New Zealand, which shows the borders with Australia, Fiji, and Vanuatu
This continent met a number of important criteria. These included the fact that the territory was noticeably higher than the surrounding area, had characteristic geology, clearly defined borders, and a thicker surface layer, in comparison with the seafloor.
Moreover, Zealand occupies a considerable area-about 4.9 million km2. By the way, the area of Greenland is only 2.131 million km2. And in relation to Australia, which is considered a continent, Zealand is 2/3 of its territory.
History of education
According to scientists, Zealand separated from Australia a very long time ago вЂ” about 60-85 million years ago. Later, the continent sank and subsequently underwent many changes. There were many reasons for such changes, and one of them was the volcanic ring formed in the Pacific Ocean.
It deformed the underwater part of Zealand. This formation is also called the Ring of Fire.
It consists of 450 volcanoes, most of which are the most powerful. It is not surprising that this chain has affected the appearance of the underwater continent because it is the cause of 81% of earthquakes in the world.
Zeeland вЂ” the lost Atlantis?
In 340 BC, the Greek philosopher Plato described an island-state, sunken and lost, called Atlantis. Was he writing about a new continent?
Scientists answer this question in the negative. After all, Zealand went underwater so long ago that it was not able to get into the history of mankind in written form. However, a stormy fantasy suggests that the underwater continent may still amaze by its secrets.
Map of Southern Zealand
What is in its territory under the water column вЂ” scientists have yet to find out. But this research is difficult due to the lack of humanity's necessary equipment to study the underwater world.
Some experts suggest that the mainland has preserved the remains of ancient worlds on its territory. Perhaps some civilizations, isolated from other continents by the surrounding water, were able to leave their traces here. Moreover, paleontologists are almost certain that Zealand was the habitat of previously unseen prehistoric animals.
It is hoped that very soon engineers will invent much-needed devices for exploring the ocean floor. And then scientists will be able to explore the world of sunken Zealand. Perhaps only then will its involvement in the continents be fully proven.