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.