Zealandia also known as Te Riu-a-Māui or Tasmantis, is a long, narrow microcontinent that is mostly submerged mass of continental crust that subsided after breaking away from Gondwanaland 83–79 million years ago. in the South Pacific Ocean.
Zealandia is the world’s largest current microcontinent, more than twice the size of the next-largest microcontinent and more than half the size of the Australian continent.
The landmass may have been completely submerged by about 23 million years ago, and most of it (93%) remains submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean. New Zealand is the largest part of Zealandia that is above sea level, followed by New Caledonia.
Gondwana formed when Earth’s ancient supercontinent, Pangea, split into two fragments. Laurasia in the north became Europe, Asia, and North America. Gondwana in the south dispersed to form modern-day Africa, Antarctica, South America, and Australia.
In 2017, a team of eleven geologists from New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Australia concluded that Zealandia fulfils all the requirements to be considered a drowned continent, rather than a microcontinent or continental fragment.
The total estimated population of Zealandia today is over 5 million people.
- New Zealand estimated Population is 4.886 million, as of 2019.
- New Caledonia estimated Population is 284,060, as of 2018.
- Norfolk Island estimated Population is 1,748, as of 2020.
- Lord Howe Island Group estimated Population is 382, as of 2011.
The northern part of Zealandia is very volcanic. There are six major areas with active volcanoes, the largest being the Taupo Volcanic Zone on the North Island.
The submerged part of Zealandia is rich in mineral deposits, although New Zealand’s government strictly controls undersea mining activity.
More Information can be found about Zealandia via the sources provided below.
- Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent
- Lost continent of Zealandia mapped in unprecedented detail
External Video Sources:
Is Zealandia Earth’s 8th Continent? by Atlas Pro
Meet Zealandia: The Earth’s ‘8th Continent’ (and Real-Life Atlantis) by ScieShow