Saturday 18 February 2017

Is New Zealand Really Located Within Oceania?

New Zealand

The world is made up of seven continents as far as most people are aware – Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Antarctica and Australia.

However, there may just be a new one to add into the mix: Zealandia.

Having carried out in-depth research, a group of 11 scientists has posited that an eighth continent exists.

Based on their findings, the theory is that New Zealand and New Caledonia aren’t just an island chain – rather, they’re part of a 4.9 million square kilometre piece of the earth’s crust that is totally separate from Australia.

New Zealand

The scientists say this chunk of crust isn’t new – it just hasn’t been discovered until now, as 94 per cent of it is submerged under water.

“This 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,” the team wrote in the journal GSA Today.

“The scientific value of classifying Zealandia as a continent is much more than just an extra name on a list.

“That a continent can be so submerged, yet un-fragmented, makes it a useful and thought-provoking geodynamic end member in exploring the cohesion and breakup of continental crust.”

The land mass has all the four attributes needed to be considered a continent, according to the scientists.

These include the presence of different rock types and "the high elevation relative to regions floored by oceanic crust."

New Zealand

Other scientists have backed up their claims, including Bruce Luyendyk, a geophysicist at the University of California.

He said of the team behind the discovery: “These people here are A-list earth scientists.

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.”

Mr Luyendyk suggested the discovery could have an impact outside the scientific community.

“The economic implications are clear and come into play: What’s part of New Zealand and what’s not part of New Zealand?” he said.



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