Scientists have found proof of a sunken continent in the Indian Ocean. According to a study published in Nature Geoscience, the continent “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.”
No, its name is not Atlantis. According to the team’s investigation, the continent existed between India and Madagascar before it was lost to the ocean between 83.5 million and 61 million years ago.
The researchers came to this conclusion after finding zircons more than 1971 million years old on the beach of Mauritius:
The zircons were assimilated from ancient fragments of continental lithosphere beneath Mauritius, and were brought to the surface by plume-related lavas.
The scientists used this information and plate tectonic reconstruction to map the continent, which was a slice of land that they called Mauritia. According to the scientists, Mauritius and the Mascarene Plateau “may overlie [this] Precambrian microcontinent”, located 10km under the surface. [Nature Geoscience via BBC News]