Scientists Discover Lost Continent That’s Been Missing for 375 Years

X (Twitter) // @oFFMetaSweat

Scientists have recently discovered the existence of a continent that was hiding beneath the waves. While the land mass is underwater, it is undoubtedly there, and some of it is known as the islands of New Zealand and New Caledonia. The continent called Zealandia was confirmed to exist after decades of research by geologists. It is also known by its Māori name, Te Riu-a-Māui.

Zealandia Is the Eighth Continent

The eighth continent seems to be over a billion years old, and its existence was first proposed in 1995. It was fully mapped in 2023, and a 2021 study suggested its age. Back in 2018, geologist Rose Turnbull stumbled upon grains of sand containing a mineral called zircon. The mineral is important because it can be used to trace all kinds of igneous rocks, like granite, that form on continents.

X (Twitter) // @oFFMetaSweat

During the study, 169 samples of rock were crushed and sorted until only fine sand and zircon crystals remained. With those zircon crystals, the group could advance and publish their study, showing bits of mantle rock from Zealandia that were as old as 2.7 billion years. According to researchers, the discovery ticked the final box to pronounce that the land mass was actually a continent.

Zealandia Boasts Old Crust

One of the geologists involved in the study, Joshua Schwartz, who specializes in granites, further explained that the layer on top of the Earth referred to as the crust, which is relatively thin, was where all the action for life takes place. He explained that the continental crust is the environment where people live and engage in various activities, emphasizing that all aspects of human life take place upon the crust.

Due to this, Zealandia has the crust it needs to classify as a continent. Zealandia is still a young continent compared to the rest because the rocks are still not as old as those of the major continents. Those have rocks that are more than three billion years old.