Zealandia Mapped: Lost Continent Revealed

Initially revealed seven years ago, Zealandia has now been mapped entirely, covering 1.9 million square miles. 

Scientists have successfully completed the mapping of Zealandia, a sunken continent beneath the South Pacific, hidden below the ocean surrounding New Zealand. 

By analyzing rock samples and using magnetic mapping, scientists aim to uncover why this chunk of Earth's crust formed and sank millions of years ago. 

This mostly submerged continent is considered a missing piece of the continental crust, fitting like a puzzle among nearby continents such as Antarctica and Australia.  

These rocks, crushed and analyzed for zircon crystals, act as a geologic clock, providing insights into Zealandia's geological evolution. 

During a video call, geologist Nick Mortimer showcased granite rock samples from Zealandia, collected during a 2016 voyage. 

By detecting magnetic field anomalies, researchers identify highly magnetic rocks, creating maps that provide a sense of Zealandia's shape and structure. 

The study involves connecting rock samples with magnetic mapping to form a comprehensive understanding of Zealandia. 

Ongoing investigations and analyses of additional samples aim to unravel more about Zealandia's geological history and its connections with neighboring continents. 

The research sheds light on Earth's continental crust evolution, showcasing a cycle of supercontinent compaction, breakup into smaller continents, and eventual coalescence over hundreds of millions of years.