An international team of researchers have located what they believe is evidence of a lost “micro-continent” off the coast of Madagascar.
This landmass would have existed millions of years ago, back in the days of the supercontinents.[map width="602" height="300" lat="-20.313721" long="57.589453" zoom="5"]
In the beginning, the landmasses of Earth existed together as a supercontinent called Rodinia, and later Pangaea. Over millions of years, the landmasses serparated through continental drift, leading to the arrangement we see today.
And it still happens, slowly — at about the rate at which your fingernails grow.
In the case of this new discovery, researchers found evidence of a fragment of land between India and Madagascar, which at one time were very near each other. As they drifted apart, the landmass was lost, sinking beneath the ocean’s surface.
However, a volcanic eruption that occurred millions of years ago may have left traces of the lost continent on the beaches of Mauritius, an island just to the east of Madagascar, in the Seychelles. These traces come in the form of of the mineral zircon.
“The zircon dated to between 1,970 and 600 million years ago, and the team concluded that they were remnants of ancient land that had been dragged up to the surface of the island during a volcanic eruption.”
The lost contentinent has been named Mauritia, and scientists hope they’ll be able to investigate further with the help of seismic tomography. That, they say, would be the “ultimate proof.”
Of course, when we think of lost continents, we’re really hoping to find Atlantis or Lemuria or maybe even an Otherworld…but hey: there are many things we have yet to discover right here on Earth.
Image courtesy Fabio Achilli.