Tuesday, 28 February 2017


As every good schoolboy knows, the world is divided into seven continents with oceans in between; Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa, Antarctica and Australia. Some geologists classify India as a continent, but that is debatable. However, there is one region of the Earth that has been recently listed at the planet's eighth definitive continent. It's called Zealandia and it is in the South Pacific Ocean with a narrow fault between it and Australia's south-eastern boundary. A lot of its western land lies beneath the Tasman Sea, hence it has been nicknamed "Tasmantis" by some witty geologist, probably at a drunken party. Unlike the other continents, at the present time with the current sea level, most of Zealandia is submerged by the ocean. None of the continents are completely exposed to the air and all of them have their low lying extremities underwater; this is called the continental shelf and it includes the seas around the British Isles for example. Zealandia however is almost all continental shelf and very little land. The seven percent of the continent that can be seen are the peaks of its mountains that are high enough to stick above the waves; these are some of the islands of the South Pacific: New Caledonia, Chatham, Antipodes, Norfolk, Elizabeth, Bounty and Campbell Islands. Most of Zealandia's dry land is on a single large central plateau that rises to a set of mountain ranges. You may have heard of it; it's called New Zealand. It must be quite a boost for Kiwi patriotism to think they're part of a continent in their own right and not just a few islands off the coast of Australia. In fact Zealandia was once part of Australia, but it broke away through tectonic movement about eighty-five million years ago.

Sea level fluctuates considerably over time. Its level depends very much on geological forces and climate change. During periods of global warming there is less ice at the poles and this causes the sea level to rise. This happened very dramatically between the eleventh and tenth millennium BC. The polar ice caps shrank suddenly and considerably, and sea levels rose three or four hundred feet or more until they were close to their present point. Before that, much of the continental shelves were dry land. The British Isles were a peninsula of Europe and most of the seas surrounding Indonesia did not exist. Obviously far more of Zealandia was also exposed, however not much more in terms of percentage because most of its plains are below two thousand feet under the current sea level and you have to go back over two hundred million years to find the sea that low. There is a lot of controversy associated with sea level change because of the questions it raises over the dating of architectural anomalies. I've discussed before the work of people like Graham Hancock and Rand and Rose Flem-Ath; see background links below. These researchers have radical views regarding the origins of civilization. For example Hancock and his colleagues, Robert Bauval, Prof. Robert Schoch and John Anthony West, claim that the Sphinx of Egypt is far older than its previously listed date. Officially it was built during the twenty-fifth century BC around the time of the Great Pyramid; but the new study pushes that date back a long time, three or four millennia at least. Hancock and his team have their critics, most notably Dr Zahi Hawass, and the debate has gone back and forth. However, when somebody discovers a sophisticated artificial structure on the seabed it changes everything because it can only have been constructed when that part of the continental shelf was dry land. So sea level change effectively places an indisputable minimum age on an object. Hancock and others have indeed found buildings under the sea. The best example is off the coast of India where two entire cities resides, but there are many others. See here for details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va0BIqfzpvo. This seriously upsets our view of human history because officially there were no major urban developments in the world until the cities of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt rose up at the end of fourth millennium BC. People only lived in small communities that were mostly nomadic or semi-nomadic. A lot of human cultures have myths about a long lost high society that was destroyed by flooding. The best known of these are the Greek story of Atlantis and Noah's Ark from the Bible. There are many others from across the world, Cantre'r Gwaelod in Wales, the legend of Zaralelli in South Africa, the hero Manu in India etc. Are these tales really folk memories of real events, or did the people come up with the same plots by coincidence? I wonder if there is evidence from the huge undersea continent of Zealandia. Hardly surprisingly, yes. The Maori people, the indigenous culture of New Zealand, have exactly such a folk tale, see: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html#Maori. Are there any mysterious undersea stone monuments there too?

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