Scientists say they’ve discovered a hidden continent under New Zealand

This newly proposed continent is about 1.74 million square miles in size and 94 percent submerged. But at its highest points, it protrudes above the ocean surface in the form of New Zealand and New Caledonia, according to a paper published in GSA Today, the journal of the Geological Society of America.

The proposed recognition of the continent of Zealandia does not represent the discovery of a new land mass. Rather, the paper argues that the geological evidence suggests the land mass should be classified not as a collection of islands and fragments but as a bona fide continent.

“If we could pull the plug on the oceans, it would be clear to everyone we have mountain chains and a big, high-standing continent above the ocean crust,” Nick Mortimer, a geologist at GNS Science in Dunedin, New Zealand, told Reuters.