Google Sitemap Compression Support
It's interesting to read Google's decision to use poorly worded documentation on what sitemaps are or are not supported. Here is a quote from Google Webmaster Tools regarding an error message received when uploading a archived file.
Google couldn't process your sitemap because we couldn't uncompress
it. This error can occur when you compress your sitemap to reduce its
size, and submit the sitemap as part of a .zip or other archive file.
The above statement would imply that it does not support zip or any other archive such as tar, rar, bzip etc. This is when it gets confusing, listed as the 'FIXED' it says:
Check your sitemap, and compress it again. Then upload the new archive
file, and resubmit your sitemap.
So, it's pretty confusing when they word it like that to say the least. I decided to test this out myself out of pure interest and I confirmed what others are saying... it doesn't support zip and other file compression types other than gzip which doesn't change the file extension.
Here is a screenshot of the failure just to confirm that your not alone:
If your sitemaps are getting rather large then you should look to decrease those sizes by splitting them up into groups. For example, I use Yoast SEO which creates my sitemap and splits them up into several chunks that helps reduce the file size of each map, not req, but merely a suggestion if you want shorter duration uploads of your sitemaps, and maybe a little better at processing those maps.