NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WISH) – Geologists say they may have found a new continent. They are calling it “Zealandia,” according to a new study in the Geological Society of America’s journal, GSA Today.
The study says Zealandia is hiding under New Zealand. About 94 percent is submerged in the ocean.
Geologists say it is nearly two million square miles. That’s bigger than India.
The authors of the study say the mass fits all four requirements for being a continent.
Zealandia was once part of Gondwana 335 million years ago. Gondwana is a supercontinent that merged with Laurasis, which formed the singular supercontinent Pangea, the study says.
Researchers say Zealandia they are still trying to figure out why it went missing for so long. They are working to improve what defines the continent-ocean boundaries, as well as how supercontinents transformed the surface of the Earth.
Geologist Nick Mortimer says Zealandia is its own continent, not just a microcontinent left behind by Pangea.
The requirements to be considered a continent include being large and having known areas that are underlain by continental crush. Researchers say if you take away the ocean water that is surrounding New Zealand and New Caledonia, that is what you will find.
Zealandia is not officially declared a continent yet, but geologists say it should be considered.