New Maps Reveal Zealandia’s Lost Continent – BGR

  • Scientists studying the lost continent of Zealandia have produced a series of detailed maps showing the continent sitting below the surface of the ocean.
  • Zealandia is a huge underwater land mass below present-day New Zealand.
  • The continent, if it were above sea level, would multiply the size of New Zealand several times over.

You have probably never heard of a continent. It’s called Zealandia, and it’s almost completely covered in ocean water. The tiny bit of land that looms above the ocean surface is what we know as New Zealand, but the landmass New Zealand is part of is much, much larger than what we see on most maps.

Now, the GNS Science researchers have provided some staggeringly detailed maps of the so-called “lost continent,” giving us an idea of ​​how it compares to neighboring Australia, and what it would look like if ocean levels weren’t as high as they are. .

Zealandia has all the characteristics of a continent. There are highlands and lowlands. There is a large flat plateau that, if sat a little higher, could have been a vast desert or grassland. It is huge, especially compared to the size of New Zealand as we know it today.

“These maps are a scientific reference point, but they are also more than that. They are a way to communicate our work to our colleagues, stakeholders, educators and the public, “said Dr. Nick Mortimer, geologist who led the map project, in a statement.” We have created these maps to provide an accurate, complete picture. and updated on the geology of the New Zealand and Southwest Pacific area, better than we’ve had before. “

These new maps of the area are especially cool because they allow us to imagine what this area of ​​the world would look like if the arrangement of the plates on their surface were a little different. They are definitely great to watch, but they also have an important scientific purpose.

“Their value is that they provide a new context in which to explain and understand the configuration of New Zealand volcanoes, plate boundaries, and sedimentary basins,” says Dr. Mortimer.

There are three versions of the map data available to view directly from your browser. There is a geoscience map, a tectonic map, and a bathymetry map. Tectonic is interesting because it reveals how major faults affected the shape of the submerged continent, but the bathymetry map is probably your best bet if you want to dream what the continent would look like if it were above sea level.

The earth is constantly changing. It is a slow process, but the arrangement of the continents that we see today is very far from what they were 100 million years ago. Go back even further and you will find all the continents united in the Pangea supercontinent. If things turned out a little differently, Zealand could have ended up being a bustling continent instead of a submerged landmass.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering the latest news and trends in virtual reality, handheld devices, smartphones, and future technology. Most recently, Mike served as technical editor at The Daily Dot, and has appeared on USA Today,, and countless other websites and in print. His love of reporting is second only to his addiction to games.