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Earth Has A Brand-New Continent Called Zealandia

You might not believe this; the amounts of continents that you have studied in school are not the only ones present on Earth. Geologists usually link Europe and Asia into a supercontinent — Eurasia — making for a total of six continents. But that’s not the only news here. According to a new study, Geologists claim that there is another continent —Zelalandia—, and we were not able to figure it out for centuries. A research published in GSA Today, a journal of the Geological Society of America, 11 researchers claim that New Zealand and New Caledonia are not just island chains. They are both parts of a 4.9 million-square-kilometer region of the continental layer that isn’t the same as Australia. 

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“This is not a sudden discovery, but a regular recognition; just 10 years ago we would not have had the gathered data or hope in explanations to write down this paper."

Bruce Luyendyk, a geophysicist at the California University at Santa Barbara told Business Insider:

"These people here are A-list scientists; I think they've assembled a solid collection of proof that is truly thorough. I don't see that there's gonna be a lot of pushback, except maybe around the corners."
What is the reason for calling it an entirely new continent?

Luyendyk named it Zelalandia back in 1995 but it was not regarded as a continent that time. The name was used to collectively define New Zealand, New Caledonia, and a region of Gondwana, a 200 million-year-old super-continent.


Zealandia, shown in gray to the east of Australia, is likely Earth's seventh geologic continent. N. Mortimer et al./GSA Today


Zealandia, displayed in gray to the east of Australia, is likely to be the Earth's seventh geologic continent.

Luyendyk said:
"The reason I came up with this terminology is out of convenience. They are fragments of the exact same thing when you look at Gondwana. So I noticed why do you keep naming this collection of fragments as separate things?"
There are some reasons, which made geologists curious about this continent and they started investigating, and then termed it a completely new continent.
  
They took decades' worth of new proof and studied it with four criteria that geologists use to deem a slab of rock a continent:

1. Land that pokes up comparatively high from the ocean floor.

2. A diversity of three types of rocks: igneous (spewed by volcanoes), metamorphic (transformed by heat/pressure), and sedimentary (made by erosion).

3. A thicker, less dense portion of crust compared to surrounding ocean floor.

4. "Well-defined limits around a large area to be regarded a continent rather than a microcontinent or continental fragment."

The new study used latest and thorough satellite-based development and gravity maps of the unique seafloor to proof that Zealandia is really a part of a unified region. The data also proposes Zealandia is slightly larger in area than India.

"If the altitude of Earth's solid surface had first been mapped in a similar way as those of Mars and Venus we resist that Zealandia would, much earlier, have been examined and recognized as one of Earth's continents."
Zealandia is separated by 25 kilometers from the continent Australia.

Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate are the cause for Zealandia in its division into northern and southern divisions by two tectonic plates. But geologists say that Arabia, India, and parts of Central America have similar partitions yet are still considered to be parts of larger continents.

Luyendyk said:
"I'm from California, and it has a plate border going through it, in about millions years, the western part will be up near Alaska. Does that make it not part of North America? No. The economic implications are clear and play a role: What is part of New Zealand, and what is not a part of New Zealand?"
"The scientific value of categorizing Zealandia as a continent is much more than just another name on a list," the geologists wrote. "That a continent can be so flooded yet unfragmented makes it a handy and thought-provoking geodynamic end member in discovering the cohesion and breakup of continental crust."

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