Oct 20, 2018 | Updated: 04:34 PM EDT

Meet 'Zealandia,' Earth's Newest Continent

Feb 19, 2017 10:17 AM EST

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Schools have taught their students that there are only 7 existing continents for decades now. However, it appears that geography textbooks would have to add another continent to that list as it has been discovered that there is yet another continent beneath New Zealand and New Caledonia. Scientists have long been eyeing a huge landmass which is about 94 percent submerged under the Pacific Ocean which they have named as "Zealandia."

Because it almost entirely submerged underwater, it took quite a while before scientists could discover the hidden continent. The 6 percent that isn't submerged is what the world knows as New Zealand and New Caledonia so that means that these two are just island chains, they're also a part of a larger and hidden continent. In a report made by BBC, Zealandia is said to be a 4.9 million sq kilometer continental crust different from Australia.

It is slightly bigger than India and scientists have already been aware of the continent long before they manage to gather enough data in order to consider it as a continent. The name "Zealandia" was given to the continent back in 1995 by Bruce Luyendyk, a geologist from the University of California Santa Barbara, who had referred to New Zealand, New Caledonia and the underwater sections of the continent which he described as having broken off from a much larger and ancient supercontinent called Gondwana, ABC News reports.

Now this latest news about a new continent under the southwest Pacific leaves the question as to whether or not it would be counted as one of the officially recognized continents in the world and if geography textbooks finally have to be revised in order to accommodate and include this new discovery. Right now however, since there is no official body to recognize continents, only time and future research can tell if Zealandia would finally be included on the official list of continents.

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