Approximately 375 years ago, geoscientists discovered a continent that had been lurking in plain sight.
There has been speculation throughout history regarding the existence of a continent known as Zealandia or Te Riu-a-Mui in Mori.
The extent of Zealandia, according to TN News, is 1.89 million square miles. Over 500 million years ago, it was a part of a supercontinent dubbed Gondwana, which included the majority of Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia.
It is believed to have been discovered in 1642 by the Dutch merchant and sailor Abel Tasman, who was eager to find the “Great Southern Continent.”
Despite being unable to locate the new land, he encountered the local Mori, who were initially dissatisfied with his arrival. Nonetheless, they provided valuable information about the surrounding land, including the existence of a large landmass to the east.
Geologists found the continent buried all along.
Scientists concurred on the existence of Zealandia, which began to “pull away” from Gondwana for unknown reasons.
Geologists at the Zealand Crown Research Institute GNS Science have used the fact that the majority of the newly discovered continent is submerged as an example of how something “very obvious” can take time to discover.
“[It is] a process that we do not fully comprehend,” Tulloch explained. “Zealandia began to separate.”
His colleague Nick Mortimer, who conducted the study, quipped that it was “kind of cool” before elaborating: “If you think about it, every continent on the planet has different countries on it, [but] there are only three territories on Zealandia.”