Earth’s jaw-dropping ‘hidden’ continents from Atlantis to newfound ‘Icelandia’

A secret continent dubbed “Icelandia” has been discovered beneath Iceland – and the enormous land mass could stretch from Greenland to Europe.

Its huge size would make it bigger than Australia, according to geologists behind the astonishing discovery.

But other continents have already been found in addition to the traditional seven we were always taught – Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Antarctica and Australasia.

Here the Daily Star looks at other amazing discoveries of lost or hidden continents.


The discovery of a new continent in the South Pacific was announced in 2017.

Zealandia is half the size of Europe and mostly underwater. Only 6% is above the waves, which is why no-one found it earlier. It only substantially breaks the ocean surface at the islands of New Zealand, hence the name.

It is believed to have broken away from Gondwana – the immense land mass that once took in Australia – before sinking between 60million and 85m years ago.

Some say it should be classified as the world’s eighth continent.


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Lying at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, this micro-continent is thought to have been pulled apart by plate tectonics 50-100m years ago.

In 2017, South African scientists said they had found a fragment of Mauritia deep beneath an ancient lava flow.

They spotted it was three billion years old compared to Mauritius which is eight million years old.

Greater Adria

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In 2019, this landmass was identified under southern Europe – specifically, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Croatia.

Around the size of Greenland, it broke away from north Africa more than 200m years ago and was mostly underwater, visible as a string of islands.

Most of it plunged into the Earth’s mantle but researchers from Utrecht University discovered some was still visible, making up a strip of land across Italy from the Adriatic Sea.

Kerguelen Plateau

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In the Indian Ocean south-west of Australia, this sunken micro-continent lies 2km below sea level.

It is around the size of California and was produced by a volcanic hotspot around 130m years ago. A small portion forms the Kerguelen Islands plus the volcanic Heard and McDonald Islands.


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The fate of Atlantis has captivated us for thousands of years, with Greek philosopher Plato claiming it was home to folk who were half-god/half-human, living in an advanced civilisation.

It has been featured in film and TV from Doctor Who to Aquaman.

One theory says it was a mid-Atlantic continent which suddenly sank into the ocean, while another claims it was part of Antarctica, before the Earth’s crust shifted and moved it north.


In 1864, zoologist Philip Sclater claimed this continent had sunk beneath the Indian Ocean.

It was proposed to explain the presence of lemur fossils in Madagascar and India, but not in Africa or the Middle East.

But once scientists discovered continental drift – the premise that land masses move over time – the idea of Lemuria’s existence was eventually dismissed.

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