Defining the largely submerged landmass may be trickier than defining Pluto as a planet
Lurking beneath New Zealand is a long-hidden continent called Zealandia, geologists say. But since nobody is in charge of officially designating a new continent, individual scientists will ultimately have to judge for themselves.
A team of geologists pitches the scientific case for the new continent in the March/April issue of GSA Today, arguing that Zealandia is a continuous expanse of continental crust covering around 4.9 million square kilometers. That’s about the size of the Indian subcontinent. Unlike the other mostly dry continents, around 94 percent of Zealandia hides beneath the ocean. Only New Zealand, New Caledonia and a few small islands peek above the waves.
“If we could pull the plug on the world’s oceans, it would be quite clear that Zealandia stands out about 3,000 meters above the surrounding ocean crust,” says study coauthor Nick