You read in all the textbooks at school that there are 7 continents in the world. However, all of these textbooks may need to be rewritten in the future – as one aspirant aspires to become the eighth continent.
This is what New Zealand is doing, a continent that is almost entirely submerged in the Southeast.
Scientists say that Zealand meets the continental criteria and has taken active steps to officially recognize it as a continent.
In an article published in the Geographical Society of America’s Journal, researchers say New Zealand covers an area of 5 million square kilometers – two-thirds of neighboring Australia.
However, about 94% of New Zealand’s mainland is underwater, with only a few islands above the water and three other large areas of land – New Zealand’s northern and southern islands and New Caledonia.
You can deem that being above water is an important criterion for gaining continental status – but scientists have analyzed very different criteria that New Zealand fits. Scientists have identified the following criteria: elevation above the surrounding environment, peculiar geology, well-defined area and crust that is thicker than the normal ocean floor.
New Zealand-based geologist Nick Mortimer, the lead author of the study, says researchers have been researching data for New Zealand’s recognition as a continent for more than two decades.
Scientists explain that the scientific value of New Zealand’s recognition of the continent is greater than the additional name on the continent’s list. The fact that the continent is underwater, but not submerged, is useful in studying the density and decomposition of the continental crust.
So how Zealand should be listed? Should textbook authors be worried? After all, Pluto was recently removed from the list of planets in the solar system, which also changed the knowledge gained at school.
Unfortunately, we do not have any organization that officially declares how many mainlands should be. It only can be switched in time for our thoughts, with New Zealand recognition as a continent in the research – so we would need to use to learn that there are 8 mainlands.
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