• GNS Science, a New Zealand research institute, has published two new maps covering Zealandia’s tectonic profile and shape.
• Zealandia is an almost entirely submerged mass of continental crust located in the southern Pacific Ocean that subsided after breaking away from Gondwanaland 83–79 million years ago.
• It has variously been described as a continental fragment, a microcontinent, a submerged continent, and a continent.
• The land mass may have been completely submerged by about 23 million years ago, and most of it (93%) remains submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean.
• Political Divisions Under Zealandia Are: New Zealand, New Caledonia, Norfolk island, Lord howe island group and Elizabeth and Middleton reefs.
• It is also known as Tasmantis due to its proximity to Tasman sea. Te Riu-a-Māui is another name for Zealandia.
• The name and concept for Zealandia was proposed by Bruce Luyendyk in 1995.
Defining as continent:
• Originally the term “continent” was applied to any area of land, of any size, not separated by water, including islands. However, today, continents are understood to be large, continuous, distinct masses of land, ideally (but not necessarily) separated by expanses of water.
• No required minimum size to qualify as “large” (or “very large”) has been defined, nor the requisite degree of physical separation. Continents are therefore defined by convention rather than some strict criteria. The criteria used can be of geographical, historical, cultural, anthropological, political, or even of philosophical nature.
• Number of continents varies from 4 to 7 depending on the criteria.
Mains Paper 1: Geography
Prelims level: Zealandia
Mains level: Details about the continent and its geographical feature