New Zealand sits atop a previously unknown continent -- mostly submerged beneath the South Pacific -- that should be recognised with the name Zealandia, scientists said Friday. Researchers said Zealandia was a distinct geological entity and met all the criteria applied to Earth's seven other continents -- elevation above the surrounding area, distinctive geology, a well-defined area and a crust much thicker than that found on the ocean floor. In a paper published in the Geological Society of America's Journal, GSA Today, they said Zealandia measured five million square kilometre (1.9 million square miles) and was 94 percent underwater.
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