What is Zealandia?

1 min read
What is Zealandia? Blog Image


Scientists have recently confirmed the existence of a "missing" continent known as Zealandia.

About Zealandia:

  • It is a long, narrow microcontinent that is mostly submerged in the South Pacific Ocean.
  • Zealandia or Te Riu-a-Māui in the Māori language was formally one of the constituent continents of the ancient supercontinent called Gondwana, which also included Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia over 500 million years ago. 
  • It began to "pull away" from Gondwana roughly 105 million years ago.
  • As Zealandia started pulling away,  it began to sink beneath the waves, with over 94 percent remaining underwater for millennia.
  • It is approximately 1.89 million square miles (4.9 million square km) in size, about half the size of Australia.
  • The vast majority of this new continent lies beneath 6,560 feet (2km) of water.
  • The part of Zealandia which is above water forms the foundation of New Zealand's north and south islands as well as the island of New Caledonia
  • The existence of Zealandia was first recorded in 1642 by Dutch businessman and sailor Abel Tasman, who was on a mission to find the "great Southern Continent," or Terra Australis.


Q1: What is Gondwana?

Gondwana was an ancient supercontinent that broke up about 180 million years ago. The continent eventually split into landmasses we recognize today: Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula.