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Zealandia is the World’s Newest Continent

Author : Odisha Today Bureau | Posted on: 2019-01-18

As a big geological revelation it has come to be discovered that Earth has a brand-new continent called Zealandia, and it’s been hiding from us for ages. The continent lies partly beneath New Zealand. It has been undiscovered until now. The land mass named Zealandia, stretches across five million square kilometers of the south west pacific. Ninety-four percent of its land mass is beneath the ocean. New Zealand and New Caledonia are the tip of it. It is elevated above the surrounding area, is well-defined and has a crust much thicker than the ocean floor. The possible existence of Zealandia was first suggested in 1995. Unitil recently there wasn’t enough evidence to be certain of its existence. Formally recognizing Zealandia as a continent could have political implications. It’s thought there could be large reserves of oil off the coast of New Zealand. UN agreements use continental boundaries to decide which nations can extract offshore resources.

 

During glacial periods, more of Zealandia became a terrestrial rather than a marine environment. Zealandia was originally thought to have no native land, mammal and fauna, but the mammal jaw found from the marine in the Otago region shows otherwise.

 

In 2017, a team of eleven geologists from New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Australia concluded that Zealandia fulfils all the requirements to be considered a continent, rather than a microcontinent or continental fragment. This was widely covered by the news media.  

 

Zealandia is occasionally divided by scientists into two regions, North Zealandia (Western Province) and south Zealandia (Eastern Province), the latter of which contains most of the Median Batholith crust. These two features are separated by the alpine Fault and Kermode Trench and by the wedge-shaped Hikwrangi plateau which are moving separately towards each other. 

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