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Zealandia broke apart from the supercontinent Gondwana millions of years ago then sank; It’s hard to study an underwater landmass, but researchers say they’ve created a complete map; Studying Zealandia’s geology helps scientists understand how and why supercontinents break up.
After decades of work, a team of scientists has finally completed a map of Zealandia. It’s helping them unlock the secrets of this lost continent’s mysterious past.
Zealandia is sometimes called Earth’s eighth continent. It stretches over 1.9 million square miles — about half the size of Australia.
But it was hidden, lost for millennia, because 95% of it is underwater. That makes it extremely difficult to map since most of its volcanoes, valleys, rifts, and mountains lie at the bottom of the ocean near New Zealand.