Reports suggest that according to a new study of Earth’s crust, there’s a seventh geologic continent called ‘Zealandia’.
Zealandia is ” is not a sudden discovery but a gradual realisation; as recently as 10 years ago we would not have had the accumulated data or confidence in interpretation to write this paper,” 11 researchers behind the study wrote in GSA Today, a Geological Society of America journal.
New Zealand and New Caledonia aren’t merely an island chain, but actually they’re both part of a single, 4.9-million-square kilometre (1.89 million-square-mile) slab of continental crust that’s distinct from Australia, the group says.
Until now, Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America were the only recognised continents.
“These people here are A-list earth scientists,” Bruce Luyendyk, a geophysicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara tells Business Insider.
“I think they have put together a solid collection of evidence that’s really thorough. I don’t see that there’s going to be a lot of pushback, except maybe around the edges.”
He was not involved in the study.
The name Zealandia isn’t new. It was used to describe New Zealand, New Caledonia, and a collection of submerged pieces and slices of crust that broke off a region of Gondwana, a 200 million-year-old supercontinent, the study says.
“The reason I came up with this term is out of convenience,” Luyendyk says.
“They’re pieces of the same thing when you look at Gondwana. So I thought, ‘why do you keep naming this collection of pieces as different things?'”