Feb 03, 2017 07:09 AM EST
South African University Scientist Finds Long-Lost Continent In Indian Ocean
A scientist at the University of Witwatersrand initially found the long-lost continent beneath the Indian Ocean back in 2013. The island was originally located between India and Madagascar.
Fox News reported that Ashwal and his team, Michael Wiedenbeck & Trond H. Torsvik, believed that the island of Mauritius was sitting on a sunken continent. They came to this hypothesis because the island had a stronger gravitational pull compared to the other parts of the Indian Ocean.
The report, which was published on Tuesday in the journal "Nature," revealed that the team found zircon crystals that were aged about 3 billion years old. This is an interesting since Mauritius is only 8 million years old.
Zircon crystals found on the island's beaches have been found to be dated at 2 billion years old. The researchers hypothesized that volcanic eruptions could have blasted the crystals from below the surface.
The sunken continent has been dubbed as Mauritia. It is believed to be a small continent, similar in size to Madagascar, and may have stayed afloat until about 85 million years ago.
In a report by New Scientist, Mauritia began to stretch and break up when India and Madagascar started to move apart. University of New South Wales' Martin Van Kranendonk compared the continent to that of plasticine. This material, when stretched, become thinner and split apart, causing it to easily sink below the ocean.
It was also noted that there is evidence that other volcanic islands in the Indian Ocean, such as the Cargados Carajos, Laccadive and Chagos islands, also sit on top of fragments of the long-lost continent. Alan Collins, from the University of Adelaide, added that more remnants of other old continents are being discovered.
A few more pieces were recently found off of Western Australia and below Iceland. With the continued exploration of deep oceans, more and more remnants of the ancient continents may be discovered.
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