Billion Years Old Lost Continent Found Under Indian Ocean
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Scientists Discover Lost Continent Of Gondwana Under Indian Ocean
More than 500 million years ago, all the land in the world was made up of two supercontinents, Gondwana in the southern hemisphere and Laurasia in the north. The two supercontinents briefly combined to form Pangaea before breaking up into the continents we know today. Gondwana split up and became South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, and the Indian portion of Asia, as well as a number of smaller islands in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
But it turns out, that’s not the complete picture. New evidence collected by a group of scientists from Wisz University and the German Research Centre for Geosciences shows that there was another continent adrift in the Indian Ocean, but most of it sank beneath the waves.
The researchers collected samples of the mineral zircon, which can be used to calculate the age of rocks, from an island off the coast of Madagascar called Mauritius. While most of the island is younger than 9 million years, the researchers found some samples that were more than 3 billion years old.
The researchers concluded that the samples were from a part of Gondwana that no longer exists. The ‘lost’ continent was named Mauritia, and the researchers believe that more pieces of the continent can be found on other islands in the area.
This discovery changes how scientists believe Gondwana fractured into today’s continents around 200 million years ago. Instead of a simple splitting of the supercontinent, the existence of Mauritia proves that Gondwana underwent a much more violent splitting, with many smaller pieces of the landmass left floating, and eventually sinking, into the Indian Ocean.
« Lost continent » found under Mauritius
Archaean zircons in Miocene oceanic hotspot rocks establish ancient continental crust beneath Mauritius
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