Published on: October 14, 2023



Why in news? Scientists recently discovered a new continent that had been missing from knowledge for 375 years called Zealandia


  • It is mostly underwater continent but consists of a group of islands, similar to New Zealand.
  • Zealandia is a relatively young continent, separating from Antarctica about 85-120 million years ago and later splitting from Australia approximately 60-85 million years ago.
  • It is a vast continent, about six times the size of Madagascar and it’s the smallest, thinnest, and youngest one.

How was Zealandia formed?

  • Gondwana’s breakup gave rise to continents like Asia, Africa etc ,while also shaping Zealandia
  • Zealandia is mostly submerged landmass, characterised by crustal thinning due to the supercontinent’s breakup.
  • Recent mapping efforts have unveiled plateaus, ridges, and the boundary where the continent meets the ocean—an aspect largely unknown for other continents.
  • The formation of “The Giant Volcanic Region” occurred when magma erupted from fissures in the Earth’s crust.
  • Zealandia gradually broke away from the landmasses to its north and south, eventually evolving into an independent continent.
  • With the millions of years , it experienced stretching and thinning as a result of tectonic pressures, led to the development of fractures that would eventually give rise to oceanic crust.
  • Approximately 25 million years ago, Zealandia largely submerged beneath the ocean, transforming into the submerged continent.