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Long-Lost Continent Found? Fragments Of 'Mauritia' May Be Buried Beneath Indian Ocean

A a group of international scientists have found evidence that an ancient, lost continent may be buried beneath the Indian Ocean floor.

Nature reports that the study, published Feb. 24 in the journal Nature Geoscience, reports that fragments of an ancient micro-continent dubbed "Mauritia" now lie underwater between Madagascar and India.

As evidence of this lost continent, the researchers point to ancient sand grains that contain minerals pre-dating the volcanic eruption that they argue brought them to the surface, according to the BBC. These zircon minerals could be anywhere between 1,970 and 600 million years old.

"We found zircons that we extracted from the beach sands, and these are something you typically find in a continental crust," co-author Professor Trond Torsvik, from the University of Oslo, Norway, told the BBC. "They are very old in age."

Fragments of Mauritia may be found about 10 kilometers beneath the volcanic island of Mauritius, according to BBC, and would have existed between Precambrian Era and the time of the dinosaurs.

Mauritia may have been destroyed by plate tectonics between 50 million and 100 million years ago, according to ScienceNOW. The researchers, referred to by ScienceNOW as "geological detectives," used a variety of techniques in their study, such as gravity mapping, rock analysis and plate movement reconstruction.

From the journal of Nature Geoscience:

On the basis of reinterpretation of marine geophysical data, we propose that Mauritia was separated from Madagascar and fragmented into a ribbon-like configuration by a series of mid-ocean ridge jumps during the opening of the Mascarene ocean basin between 83.5 and 61 million years ago. We suggest that the plume-related magmatic deposits have since covered Mauritia and potentially other continental fragments.

Scientists told Nature that while there were "remote chances" the ancient zircons could have traveled to the islands on the wind, that possibility is very unlikely, bolstering the paper's claim.

Speaking with ScienceNOW, geochemist Andreas Stracke at the University of Münster in Germany said that, while there has been some speculation about buried ancient continental fragments in this region, “this could be a smoking gun.”

The Agence France-Presse notes that the floor of the Indian Ocean may, in fact, contain many different pieces of ancient continents that were destroyed or fragmented when the supercontinent Pangea broke apart about 200 million years ago.

Torsvik told the BBC that further research is needed to prove his paper's claims. For example, he said, seismic data could be used to image the structure, which would give researchers "ultimate proof."


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Thank you for your replies.

I also read the Metro paper and found this:

Atlantis may exist after all. Researchers claim they have found an ancient continent beneath the Indian Ocean.The micro-continent known as Mauritia detached about 60 million years ago while Madagascar and India drifted apart, before it was buried under huge amounts of lava, says a study in the latest issue of Nature Geoscience.

Mauritia, located between India and Madagascar, probably existed after the single landmass called Rodinia began to break up to form our modern continents.Researchers believe the Seychelles may be its surviving fragment.

Researchers gathered sand grains traced to a volcanic eruption from the beaches of Mauritius. The grains possessed a much older mineral, nircon, dated as being between 600 million and 1,97 billion years old.This led researchers to conclude that thyey were the remains of ancient land that had been dragged up to the surface during the volcanic eruption.


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Geological detectives are piecing together an intriguing seafloor puzzle. The Indian Ocean and some of its islands, scientists say, may lie on top of the remains of an ancient continent pulled apart by plate tectonics between 50 million and 100 million years ago. Painstaking detective work involving gravity mapping, rock analysis, and plate movement reconstruction has led researchers to conclude that several places in the Indian Ocean, now far apart, conceal the remnants of a prehistoric land mass they have named Mauritia. In fact, they say, the Indian Ocean could be “littered” with such continental fragments, now obscured by lava erupted by underwater volcanoes.

I still find this a very interesting topic. They are finding more treasures buried deep in the ocean. Who knows what civilizations built all these structures?

Parco archeologico di Baia - Ninfeo punta Epitaffio 5 - statua Dioniso

Submerged remains of Emperor Claudius' nymphaeum from the underwater archaeological park of Baiae, Italy. (Credit: Ruthven/CC-by-1.0/Wikimedia Commons)

This article was originally published on July 21, 2021.

For thousands of years, humans have whispered and wondered about the possibility of entire cities sinking into the ocean. One of the most famous of these lost metropolises, Atlantis, cropped up in conversation thanks to Plato, who claimed that the city had dropped beneath the waves millennia before he even wrote about it.

While debates over whether Atlantis is real have continued ever since the ancient Greek introduced the idea, underwater buildings, streets and edifices of other ancient cities have revealed themselves to researchers. These sunken homes, businesses and meeting places are as beautiful as they are eerie: They prove that size and importance aren’t enough to keep a thriving community above water.


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