Digging History

Scientists discover gigantic lost continent that sunk into the ocean millions of years ago

File photo - The sun rises over St. Clair beach in Dunedin Sept. 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Brandon Malone)

File photo - The sun rises over St. Clair beach in Dunedin Sept. 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Brandon Malone)

A lost continent that sunk 100 million years ago has been discovered underneath New Zealand.

The sunken world has been dubbed Zealandia as is mostly submerged beneath the South Pacific.

Zealandia stretched 1.9 million square miles and was 94 percent underwater, according to research published in the Geological Society of America’s Journal, GSA Today.

This makes it the size of greater India.

RESEARCHERS SAY LONG-LOST CONTINENT LIES BENEATH INDIAN OCEAN ISLAND

It was part of the Gondwana super-continent but broke away about 100 million years ago, researchers claimed.

New Zealand has never been regarded as part of the Australian continent, although the geographic term Australasia often is used for the collective land and islands of the southwest Pacific region.

But after 20 years of research, scientists believe that the isolated island belonged to its own super land mass.

There is no official body that recognizes new continents, but the scientists believe Zealandia has the same features as the six we are familiar with.

Lead author Nick Mortimer said scientists have been gathering data to make the case for Zealandia for two decades.

FIRST CAME A 'CATASTROPHIC COLLAPSE,' THEN A TSUNAMI

He wrote: “As well as being the seventh largest geological continent, Zealandia is the youngest, thinnest, and most submerged.

“The scientific value of classifying Zealandia as a continent is much more than just an extra name on a list.

“That a continent can be so submerged yet unfragmented makes it a useful and thought-provoking geodynamic end member in exploring the cohesion and breakup of continental crust.”

Discoveries of this kind proves that “the large and the obvious in natural science can be overlooked”, Mortimer concluded.

This article was originally published by The Sun.