dglobalnews.com Researchers confirm existence of lost continent beneath Indian Ocean
Published: Thu, February 02, 2017
Research | By Kayla Price

Researchers confirm existence of lost continent beneath Indian Ocean

Researchers confirm existence of lost continent beneath Indian Ocean

This continent then broke off from the island of Madagascar, when Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica split up to form the Indian Ocean of today. However, after the researchers performed a study on the rocks of the island they found zircons that were 3 billion years old.

Until now, the proposed continent remained hidden because of the lava erupted from volcanoes on the East African island of Mauritius.

According to an global team of scientists, Mauritius is a continental fragment, severed from Madagascar as the the supercontinent, Gondwana, split into Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica, some 200 million years ago. Zircon crystals already located on the island's beaches have been dated at 2 billion years old.

Live Science revealed that Ashwal and his colleagues from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and Trond Torsvik from the University of Oslo and other agencies studied the mineral and zircon found in rocks spewed up by lava during volcanic eruptions.

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

The continent was likely part of the enormous supercontinent Gondwana, which broke up to become Antarctica, Africa, Australia and South America.

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"Earth is made up of two parts - continents, which are old, and oceans, which are 'young, ' the professor explained in a statement".

He further added that in Mauritius there are no rocks that could possibly be older than 9 million years.

The parts left from the ancient continent can be spread over the Indian Ocean as "this breakup did not involve a simple splitting of the ancient supercontinent of Godwana".

The clue to the discovery was finding an ancient mineral on Mauritius that shouldn't have been there. A 2013 study describing that was criticized using the argument that the small traces could have been blown in by the wind, or even carried on the wheels of vehicles or the soles of scientists' footwear.

"The fact that we found the ancient zircons in rock (6-million-year-old trachyte), corroborates the previous study and refutes any suggestion of wind-blown, wave-transported or pumice-rafted zircons for explaining the earlier results, " said Ashwal. Professor Ashwal wrote in the study published in Nature Communications.

Researchers suggest that the long-lost continent was likely connecting Madagascar and India during Gondwana supercontinent, but sepereated from them millionso of years ago and disappeared into the Indian Ocean.

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