world
Monday Dec 27 2021
By
Web Desk

After 375 years, scientists discover eighth continent

By
Web Desk
— AFP
— AFP
  • Geologists made headlines in 2017 after their announcement of the discovery of Zealandia.
  • It is a vast continent of 1.89 million sq miles (4.9 million sq km) and is around six times the size of Madagascar.
  • Zealandia is a continent because of the kinds of rocks found there, despite that it is thin and is submerged.


In 1642, Abel Tasman, an experienced Dutch sailor and penchant for rough justice, was confident that in the southern hemisphere exists a vast continent and was determined to find it.

He believed that he had discovered the great southern continent, evidently, it was hardly the commercial utopia he had envisaged and then he did not return. 

BBC reported that Tasman was right after all — there was indeed an undiscovered continent. 

A group of geologists had made headlines in 2017 for their announcement of discovering Zealandia –Te Riu-a-Māui in the Māori language. It is a vast continent of 1.89 million sq miles (4.9 million sq km) it is around six times the size of Madagascar, the broadcaster reported.

According to the BBC report, the world's encyclopedias, maps, and search engines for some time were determined over the fact that there are only seven continents, but the team confidently informed the world that this was wrong.

"There are eight after all – and the latest addition breaks all the records, as the smallest, thinnest, and youngest in the world. The catch is that 94% of it is underwater, with just a handful of islands, such as New Zealand, thrusting out from its oceanic depths. It had been hiding in plain sight all along," BBC reported.

Andy Tulloch, a geologist at the New Zealand Crown Research Institute GNS Science, who was part of the team that discovered Zealandia, said: "This is an example of how something very obvious can take a while to uncover." 

This all is just the begging as four years on, and the continent is as enigmatic as ever, it is guarded beneath 6,560 ft (2km) of water, BBC reported.

According to geologists, Zealandia is a continent because of the kinds of rocks found there, despite that it is thin and is submerged. The ocean floor is more just made up of igneous ones such as basalt. While the continental crust tends to be made up of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks — like granite, schist and limestone.

According to the report, geologists find the eighth continent still very intriguing it's still not clear how Zealandia managed to stay together when it's so thin and not disintegrate into tiny micro-continents.