New Zealand has its own continent. This is New Zealand, also known as Zeeland or Tasmantis, a gigantic mass of continental crust with more or less a surface that would be half that of Australia and that has been hidden and submerged under the sea for 23 million years.

Now we know this continent a little better: the organization GNS Sience has mapped this continent, considered as the eighth of our planet, and in which 94% of its surface is submerged.

An underwater continent

New Zealand consists of 5 million square kilometres (larger than Greenland or India), but only a small part emerges above sea level. New Zealand and New Caledonia – plus some additional small islands such as Norfolk Island – are the only things visible from this continent also known as Te Riu-a-Māui.

New Zealand separated from Asia between 60 and 85 million years ago and from Antarctica between 130 and 185 million years ago. After that separation, the continent gradually submerged, and was hidden under the sea by 94% 23 million years ago.

The data collected by GNS Science allows us to explore these maps and analyze the evolution of a continent that was considered as such by a group of researchers and geologists in 2017: according to their arguments, Zealand is not a continental fragment or a microcontinent, but it should be considered as a submerged continent.


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