Maps reveal new details of Zealandia, the lost continent

Hyperaxion Jun 27, 2020

Zealandia (or Te Riu-a-Māui, as it is called in the Māori language) is a lost continent, covering about five million square kilometers, and is under current New Zealand.

This underwater mass was discovered in the 1990s and, in 2017, scientists formally defined it as a continent. But years have passed and still little is known about it.

GNS Science, a New Zealand research institute, shared a set of new maps and interactive tools that provide unprecedented details about the continent.

(Credit: GNS Science).

“We’ve made these maps to provide an accurate, complete and up-to-date picture of the geology of the New Zealand and southwest Pacific area – better than we have had before,” said Dr. Nick Mortimer, a geologist and lead author of the maps.

“Their value is that they provide a fresh context in which to explain and understand the setting of New Zealand’s volcanoes, plate boundary and sedimentary basins,” he added.

(Credit: GNS Science).

The maps reveal Zealand’s bathymetry (shape of the ocean floor), as well as its tectonic history, showing how volcanism and the movement of the plates have shaped the continent over millions of years.

For those interested, the team also made interactive versions of the two maps available (which can be accessed here), allowing us to explore the high definition images created by the researchers.

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