The world has been witnessing very interesting natural events for millions of years. Incredibly beautiful natural structures, interesting earth formations and more have made the world an interesting place for millions of years. However, as technology and science advance, the mysteries of these events in the world can be illuminated. However, it takes much longer than expected to unravel the mysteries of some events or structures. Moreover, despite the obvious information and evidence! Here, Zealandia, which is now called the 8th continent of the world, has a very interesting story!
The existence of this almost completely submerged island has been known since 1642. However, it was only in 2017 that the continent was truly explored. So the lost continent of the world, Zealandia, had to wait 375 years before it could actually exist! On the other hand, although the existence of the continent has been known for hundreds of years and has been discovered recently, discussions about the continent continue today. The fiercest debate is about whether Zealandia is really a continent. Some experts are of the opinion that the world has regained its lost continent. But some experts are not entirely sure about this! Here’s what you need to know about Zealandia, a very interesting and controversial building…
Dutch navigator Abel Tasman believed there was an unknown continent to the south
The area where New Zealand is located today was not well known to Europeans at that time. But Abel Tasman was sure that there was a hidden continent in the area. Therefore, he made a trip to the region. Tasman managed to reach the South Island in New Zealand during this trip! However, the first encounter between the local people and the Europeans in the region did not go well. Therefore, Tasman had to return without knowing the secrets of the lost continent he had discovered. However, the lost continent of Zealandia resurfaced nearly a hundred years later!
This time, British mapmaker James Cook took a trip to the region of Zealandia. One of their missions was to uncover the lost continent! However, the most realistic evidence for the existence of Zealandia came in 1895. In 1895, Scottish naturalist James Hector studied the geology of the islands in New Zealand. As a result, he concluded that New Zealand was the remnant of a mountain chain at the top of a large submerged continental area. Despite all these developments, the continent of Zealandia was forgotten until the 1960s.
In the 1960s, geologists agreed on what the continent “is”
Accordingly, the continent was defined as “a geological area with high altitude, diverse rocks and a thick crust”! Thus, a roadmap was created that could be followed to reveal the lost continent. However, exploring a continent was never an easy task. It required a lot of effort, evidence and financial support. In 1995, the “United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” entered into force. According to the clauses in this convention, if New Zealand could prove to be part of a larger continent, it would have a wider continental shelf, and thus more economic opportunities. Thus, the financial support needed to find the lost continent of Zealandia was found!
In the same years, the American geophysicist Bruce Luyendyk defined the region as a continent and proposed to name it Zealandia. At the end of all this, with the financial support of New Zealand, the efforts to find Zealand started. The ocean floor was mapped, precision satellite images were analyzed, even gravity differences in different regions were detected! And yes, a piece of land almost as big as Australia was easily visible! Zealandia was there…
The most compelling evidence that Zealandia was the 8th continent was the rock types on the continent.
That’s because the ocean floor is usually only made up of igneous rocks such as basalt. Whereas, Zealandia, like other continents, consists of rocks with different properties such as granite, schist and limestone in the earth’s crust. That’s why some scientists insist that Zealandia is the 8th continent in the world. However, there are still many mysteries about the continent waiting to be clarified.
Zealandia is thought to be part of the supercontinent Gondwana, which formed 550 million years ago!
Zealandia is thought to have split from the supercontinent 105 million years ago. The reason for this situation is unknown! However, it is known that this separation had very important effects on the structure of Zealandia. For example, the crustal thickness of the continents is generally around 40 kilometers. However, Zealandia is thought to have had a hard time leaving Gondwana. The crust of the continent has a depth of 20 kilometers! One of the questions that makes scientists think the most is why Zealandia is still not broken apart despite such a thin thickness! However, the interesting features that Zealandia has are not limited to this.
It is also unknown when Zealandia was flooded.
It is not known, though, whether it was submerged from the beginning or later submerged! This obscurity gives rise to even greater unknowns about Zealandia! The species of creatures living in Zealand is one of the most curious questions about the lost continent. Because, according to scientists, Gondwana continent, which was once a part of Zealandia, was home to many different species. On the other hand, fossils of different dinosaur species found in New Zealand in the past indicate that such fossils may exist on the lost continent! Of course, there’s no guarantee of that. Moreover, searching for fossils on the ocean floor is a very expensive and laborious process! Still, some studies are being carried out to get to know the creatures that once lived on the lost continent more closely.