EVER heard of Zealandia? Well it’s our 8th continent and 94 percent of the continent is submerged below the Pacific Ocean for more than 80 million years ago. This mostly submerged or hidden continent is an elevated part of the ocean floor about two-thirds the size of Australia located between New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Zealandia has an unusual geography for a continent. More than half the surface area of Earth’s other six continents are composed of low-lying land and shallow seas and they have relatively narrow mountain ranges and steep continental slopes in the deep ocean. In contrast, Zealandia is mostly hidden beneath more than one kilometre (0.6 miles) of water and could be classified as more than 90 per cent continental slope. It appeared back then that Zealandia separated from Australia and Antarctica about 80 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It then subsided deep beneath the waves and was lost.
However, fossils and volcanic rocks show that northern Zealandia, an area about the size of India, was radically affected by formation of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Discoveries show that the Pacific Ocean’s encircling Ring of Fire where frequent earthquakes and powerful volcanic eruptions happen had a role in causing Zealandia’s submersion beneath the ocean waves.