Scientist claim they have found the lost continent of Gondwana, a 200-million-year-old supercontinent.
In the midst of the Indian Ocean, just below the tropical island nation that was formed by lava spat from the bellies of volcanoes over a period of 9 million years, scientists have found the lost continent of Gondwana.
The researchers reached their conclusion from minerals that are billions of years old that were found among the rocks of Mauritius beautiful beaches.
A team of geologists led by South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand, have reason to believe that the island nation of Mauritius actually sits on top of a 200-million-year-old supercontinent called Gondwana, which split into Africa, South America, Antarctica, India and Australia about some 180 million years ago.
The island which is merely a tiny canopy created by layers and layers of lava over billion of years that is hiding a larger part underneath that is a tiny fragment off the island of Madagascar that broke off a long time ago.
“Earth is made up of two parts – continents, which are old, and oceans, which are ‘young’”, lead author Professor Lewis Ashwal said in an article published in the Nature Communications journal.
“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”, he added, continuing that “Mauritius is an island, and there is no rock older than 9 million years old on the island. However, by studying the rocks on the island, we have found zircons that are as old as 3 billion years.”
Zircons are minerals that contain trace amounts of uranium, thorium and lead, and are highly resilient. This means that geologists can track their formation process and date them pretty accurately.
With this new discovery, scientist have more reason to believe that there might be more continents hidden under water of various sizes, that are just waiting to be explored.