ZEALANDIA (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     11th October 2023        
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Context: An international team of geologists and seismologists have now created a new map of Zealandia, the Earth’s forgotten 8th continent.


  • About: Zealandia is a long, narrow microcontinent located in the South Pacific Ocean, primarily to the east of Australia and to the south of New Caledonia.
  • Location: This submerged microcontinent encompasses the region that includes New Zealand and New Caledonia, situated in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
  • Ancient Connection: Zealandia, also known as Te Riu-a-Māui in the Māori language, was once a constituent continent of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana, which existed over 500 million years ago. 
  • It shared its existence with Western Antarctica and Eastern Australia.
  • Separation from Gondwana: Approximately 105 million years ago, Zealandia began to separate or "pull away" from Gondwana, marking the start of its independent geological history.
  • Submergence Over Millennia: As Zealandia separated, it gradually sank beneath the ocean's surface, with over 94 percent of its landmass remaining underwater for millennia.
  • Size: Zealandia covers an area of approximately 1.89 million square miles (4.9 million square km), making it roughly half the size of Australia.
  • Tectonic Plate Boundaries: Zealandia is located along the boundaries of several tectonic plates, including the Australian Plate, Pacific Plate, and Indo-Australian Plate, contributing to its dynamic geological activity.
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