Published: Thu, February 02, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

'Lost continent' discovered under Indian Ocean

'Lost continent' discovered under Indian Ocean

The crust was apparently enclosed by lava due to volcanic eruptions and is believed to be a fragment of an ancient continent, which broke away from Madagascar when the plate tectonic shift happened, resulting in India, Australia, Antarctica and Africa splitting up- and forming the Indian Ocean. However, after the researchers performed a study on the rocks of the island they found zircons that were 3 billion years old.

Although Mauritius is only 8 million years old, some zircon crystals on the island's beaches are nearly 2 billion years old. "On the continents you find rocks that are over four billion years old, but you find nothing like that in the oceans, as this is where new rocks are formed". A study done in 2013 found traces of the mineral in beach sand as well, but that study was widely disregarded given that those zircons could have arrived by wind, or even on the shoes of human visitors.

The researchers do not think this is the only case of an ancient continental crust lying beneath what is now a volcanic island, which means more evidence of hidden continents could still be found.

The continent is believed to be a remnant of the supercontinent Gondwana which existed some 200 million years ago.

An entire continent, now submerged beneath the Indian Ocean, has been discovered by geologists studying rocks on the African island of Mauritius.

"We are studying the breakup process of the continents, in order to understand the geological history of the planet", said Prof.

Kaabil 6th Day Collection, Surpasses Lifetime Total of Hrithik's Krrish
Hrithik Roshan's old school revenge saga Kaabil has earned Rs 67.46 crore in the five days since it released at the box office. Roshan's film is not as potent as Raees internationally, scoring $830,000 in the USA and just $126,000 in Australia.

Miami Dolphins didn't follow protocol after Matt Moore hit
Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore took quite the shot in his team's wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Moore to return to the game, but did not recognize that Mr.

Basic materials stocks for your portfolio: Baker Hughes (BHI), Schlumberger (SLB)
BHI is one of the major oilfield service companies in the world, providing a range of services to the global oil and gas industry. Analysts are also projecting an Average Revenue Estimate for Baker Hughes Incorporated as $2.37 Billion in the Current Quarter.

"It's like plasticine: when continents are stretched they become thinner and split apart", Martin Van Kranendonk, of the University of New South Wales in Australia, said to New Scientist.

Zircons are known to form mainly from the granites of ancient continents that once spread across Earth's surface, and once the team dated the crystals to between 2.5 and 3 billion years, they say it's a strong indication that they belonged to the long-lost continent of Mauritia.

"Earth is made up of two parts: continents, which are old, and oceans, which are young", said Wits University's Prof Lewis Ashwal, author of the paper.

His team's results "corroborates the previous study and refutes any suggestion of wind-blown, wave-transported or pumice-rafted zircons for explaining the earlier results", he added. His study was published in Nature Communications, one of the most revered publications that feature studies of celebrated authors and researchers.

Map: Indian Ocean topography shows Mauritius as part of a chain of progressively older volcanoes that extend from the active hot-spot of Réunion toward the 65-million-year-old Deccan Traps in India.

Like this: