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17 February 2017

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You think you know your seven continents? Think again, as there's a new contender hoping to join that club.

Say hello to Zealandia, a huge landmass almost entirely submerged in the southwest Pacific.

It's not a complete stranger, you might have heard of its highest mountains, the only bits showing above water: New Zealand.

Scientists say it qualifies as a continent and have now made a renewed push for it to be recognised as such.

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researchers explain that Zealandia measures five million sq km (1.9m sq miles) which is about two thirds of neighbouring Australia.

Some 94% of that area is underwater with only a few islands and three major landmasses sticking out above the surface: New Zealand's North and South Islands and New Caledonia.

You might think being above water is crucial to making the cut as a continent, but the researchers looked at a different set of criteria, all of which are met by the new kid in town.

The main author of the article, New Zealand geologist Nick Mortimer, said scientists have been researching data to make the case for Zealandia for more than two decades.

"The scientific value of classifying Zealandia as a continent is much more than just an extra name on a list," the researchers explained.

"That a continent can be so submerged yet unfragmented" makes it useful for "exploring the cohesion and breakup of continental crust".

So how then to get Zealandia into the canon of continents? Should text books authors get nervous again? After all, just a few years ago, Pluto got kicked off the list of planets , changing what had been taught in schools for decades.

There is in fact no scientific body that formally recognises continents. So it could only change over time if future research accepts Zealandia on par with the rest so that eventually we might be learning about eight, not seven, continents.

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The default-style parameter is used for parenthesis, the dot in dotted lists, spaces, the “where” and “fresh” in side-conditions, and other places where the other parameters aren’t used.

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for keywords.

Parameters that control the various font sizes. The default-font-size is used for all of the font sizes except labels and metafunctions.
Controls the amount of space between rule in a reduction relation. Defaults to 4.

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) to compute the full separation.

Controls the amount of space between rule in a reduction relation for a horizontal or compact-vertical rendering, in addition to ( reduction-relation-rule-separation ) . Defaults to 4.

Added in version 1.7 of package redex-pict-lib .

Controls the amount of space between lines within a reduction-relation rule. Defaults to 2.
Controls if the open and close quotes for strings are turned into and or are left as merely " .

Defaults to #t .

A parameter whose value is a function to be called whenever Redex typesets some part of a grammar, reduction relation, or metafunction. It defaults to the pict library’s text function.
Returns the pict corresponding to arrow .
Sets the pict for a given reduction-relation symbol. When typesetting a reduction relation that uses the symbol, the thunk will be invoked to get a pict to render it. The thunk may be invoked multiple times when rendering a single reduction relation.
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, which combines two [ characters or two ] characters together.

The procedure accepts a string that is either "[" or "]" , and it returns four numbers. The first two numbers determine the offset (from the left and from the right respectively) for the second square bracket, and the second two two numbers determine the extra space added (to the left and to the right respectively).