February 19, 2017

Zealandia...

... it's a continent if you believe it is.

36 comments:

eddie willers said...

I'll wait for the TV show.

EDH said...

A place for those who've lost their zeal?

The Godfather said...

For us non-scientists, whether you call something deep under the ocean a continent or not is bushwa. On the other hand, I grew up in the age when no respectable scientist believed in continental drift. So if this discovery sheds light on how continents work, then I'd be interested.

Marcus Carman said...

Uh, No.

PB said...

a couple of islands and a whole lot of water? I though a continent was a major land mass?.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

It's not "a couple of islands"; it's two big islands and a lot of little ones.

stever said...

The criteria has changed over the years. As a geologist, the more useful term is "tectonic plate". The above sea level basis is geographic, not geological. So whatever works.

traditionalguy said...

How far hast thou fallen, oh Royal Society.

Original Mike said...

Zealandia is made of continental crust. Nuff said.

tim in vermont said...

Reverse Pluto treatment.

Big Mike said...

First Pluto is not a planet and now New Zealand is a continent. I'm getting dizzy!

Ambrose said...

A continent should have more people than sheep. (and yes, Antarctica does).

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ambrose said...

A continent should have more people than sheep. (and yes, Antarctica does).

Up until this last election I was beginning to wonder about North America

Rob said...

Is Zoolander's publicist behind this?

rhhardin said...

There are no hams in Zealandia, though there might be a country code for it by now.

Flipping on the radio, the band is silent. The contest must be over.

rhhardin said...

Guam has not tipped over yet.

jerpod said...

Does it identify as a continent?

Steven said...

Sure. There are about a dozen "continental fragments". Whether you count Zealandia -- or for that matter, Australia -- as the smallest continent or largest fragment tells you far more about your psychology than it does about actual geology.

Which is quite analogous with Pluto. The obvious cleavage points in nature are whether you're big enough to support gravitationally-induced fusion or not (if you're big enough, you're a star) and whether you're big enough to be in gravitationally-induced hydrostatic equilibrium (if you're not, you're an asteroid). If you want to invent an arbitrary criterion to keep the list of "planets" to a small selection of the many known bodies in the middle category of size, such that schoolchildren can memorize the list, well, that criterion doesn't actually say anything important about the bodies. From a naturalistic standpoint, Mercury and the Moon are both airless rocky bodies of about the same size, and more similar to each other than either is to Jupiter.

cornroaster said...

So I have been to seven continents instead of six. Still only have Antarctica to go.

Yancey Ward said...

So it is ok to believe that Chuck is a Republican?

Lem said...

It's not a continent unless it's been hacked by the Russians

Michael McNeil said...

Geographic continents are not the same thing as geologic continents. Speaking geologically, Mexico's peninsula of Baja California taken together with southwestern California state in the U.S., extending up to (just shy of) the city of San Francisco, isn't really part of (geologic) North America at all. That extensive terrain west of the San Andreas Rift Zone was severed from North America eons ago and these days is now part of what one might call the continent of "Pacifica."

Lem said...

The Russians hacked the vote to make the land of zealots a continent.

Curious George said...

Continent? No. They're lucky we consider them a country.

gadfly said...

The mythical "Atlantis" has been found at last! And it wasn't anywhere close to the Atlantic Ocean.

Stephen Watson said...

I largely agree with Steve above. The problem with our naming conventions for planets and now continents is that we started naming things just because they seemed a natural division of our observations. Now we want to integrate them into our best theories of how the world works, and we find that our observational divisions don't quite match with the role that we want them to play in our theories. They don't, in fact, seem to correspond to the natural kinds that appear in our theories. We may come to just accept this. Who really objects to dolphins not being fish now? On the other hand, we may be barking up an entirely incorrect taxonomic tree: there just may be no such natural kind as a 'continent'. (Just as S. J. Gould eventually decided, after a lifetime of studying them, that there really was no such category as 'fish.')

Laslo Spatula said...

Time for Donovan to write a new song.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

I'm surprised Althouse didn't already link to this.

I am Laslo.

fivewheels said...

Really missed the chance to call it "Zeatopia" and maybe sell some toys and other merch.

tim in vermont said...

This is why taxonomy is so political. It's always open to debate.

tim in vermont said...

If there was a like button for Watson's post, I would have clicked it.

Sam L. said...

Man! Talk about your Global Warming Raising The Sea Level!

Static Ping said...

I'm not sure this is really anything new. The concept of a sunken continent with New Zealand as the most prominent above water portion has been around for a while. If you look at a map of the ocean depths, the area around New Zealand is relatively shallow for a good distance compared to other land masses, especially given NZ's relative isolation.

The other area that comes up is Sundaland, the very shallow area in the Malay/Java/Sumatra/Borneo area which was definitely above sea level at some point.

Christy said...

What interests me are the geo-political ramifications. Hasn't China been building and claiming islands in shallow parts of the South China Sea? Will Christchurch do likewise?

PresbyPoet said...

Did this continent cause the ice age? Should its name be Mu?
This continent used to include what is now West Antarctica. I found a map of ocean crust ages that show how around 100 million years ago this continent split. Half headed northwest, The other half headed southeast and crashed into East Antarctica.

I also found a map that shows what Antarctica looks like without ice. You clearly see a suture line. Did mountains thrown up by the crash increase precipitation, and start ice caps?

Regarding Mu, the original location of this continent matches the location of fabled Mu, written of by Churchward.

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