Lost Continent of Zealandia Revealed in Unprecedented Detail

June 25, 2020

Geologists from New Zealand created the new tectonic and bathymetric maps

They are available both in print and in interactive from on a new web portal

Covering some 1,930,511 square miles, Zealandia is a largely sunken crustal mass

It is believed to have broken off of a supercontinent over 79 million years ago

Zealandia was confirmed as meeting the criteria for being a continent in 2017

The lost continent of Zealandia that sank into the sea 23 million years ago has been revealed in unprecedented detail in new maps of the ocean floor.

Geologists from New Zealand drew up the tectonic and bathymetric maps of the Earth’s eighth continent — which spans some 1,930,511 square miles.

The maps — along with graphics and other geoscience data — can be accessed through the new ‘E Tūhura – Explore Zealandia’, or ‘TEZ’, website. 

‘These maps are a scientific benchmark, but they’re also more than that — they’re a way of communicating our work to our colleagues, stakeholders, educators and the public,’ said map author and geologist Nick Mortimer of GNS Science.

‘We’ve made these maps to provide an accurate, complete and up-to-date picture of the geology of the New Zealand and southwest Pacific area — better than we have had before.’

‘Their value is that they provide a fresh context in which to explain and understand the setting of New Zealand’s volcanoes, plate boundary and sedimentary basins.’

The TEZ web portal will allow geologists and interested members of the general public to explore the geology of Zealandia from the comfort of their homes and offices, said project head and geophysicist Vaughan Stagpoole.

‘Users can zoom and pan around different thematic geoscience webmaps of the region. They can readily view and interrogate the maps and turn layers on or off,’ Dr Stagpoole added.

‘They can also query features in the layers and generate custom maps of their own.’

More information will be added to the interactive site as new research findings are collected, the team said.

0 comment