Scientists discover missing continent after 375 years

Given the extensive duration of human existence on Earth, it’s remarkable how numerous new discoveries continue to emerge on an annual basis.

One of the most remarkable recent discoveries made by researchers revolves around the identification of a previously unknown continent.

While the world is familiar with the seven continents—Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia—the existence of an eighth continent, long speculated upon and referred to as the ‘great Southern Continent,’ has intrigued scholars for centuries.

GNS Science

Partially explored as far back as Roman times and further investigated in the 1600s, this continent, originally comprising Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia, remained enigmatic to experts for many years. After centuries of speculation and study, geologists, nearly 400 years later, finally reached a consensus on the existence of this new continent.

Named Zealandia or Te Riu-a-Māui in the Māori dialect, the continent spans approximately 1.89 million square miles (4.9 million sq km), mostly submerged beneath the ocean’s surface. Geological evidence reveals that Zealandia was once a part of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, alongside Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia, over 500 million years ago.

GNS Science

Roughly 105 million years ago, Zealandia began to separate from Gondwana, a process that remains not entirely understood by scientists. As it drifted away, Zealandia gradually sank beneath the ocean, with over 94 percent of its landmass submerged for millennia.

Written by Telha

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