History has always been a mystery. Everyday a new dimension, every second a new mystery gets unearthed!
Scientists have made a startling discovery of an age old "Lost Continent" that has been found beneath the Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius.
Scientists from Wits University's School of Geosciences, University of Olso and the German Research Centre for Geosciences have discovered a tiny piece of a "lost continent" that is buried below layers of lava in Mauritius.
The crust was apparently enclosed by lava due to volcanic eruptions and is believed to be a fragment of an ancient continent, which broke away from Madagascar when the plate tectonic shift happened, resulting in India, Australia, Antarctica and Africa splitting up and forming the Indian Ocean.
The 'Lost Continent'
This lost continent is believed to be the outcome of the supercontinent Gondwana breaking up, which is almost 200 million years old. The discovery of the crust created quite a ripple and is believed to be the part of the ancient continent that broke off during the formation of the Indian Ocean. Scientists are researching more on the process which led to the breaking up of this lost continent so as to comprehend the planet's geological history more vividly.
The traces of zircon — disgorged during the volcanic eruptions and was discovered on the rocks — signal the existence of an age old continent of Mauritia, which is believed to be lying somewhere underneath the islands in the Indian Ocean.
Zircons occur primarily in granites and form a part of the continent plates. These minerals also have traces of lead, uranium, and thorium. Since the mineral has managed to survive the geological changes over a period of time, it is representative of the processes that have occurred and, therefore, could be "dated extremely accurately."
The lead author of the study, Lewis Ashwal along with his fellow colleagues, closely observed the zircon deposits and confirmed that the residuum of the mineral was way too old to be a part of the Mauritius island. His hypothesis leaned more towards the existence of a lost continent that may have been washed away with the vicissitudes of time.
"Earth is made up of two parts- Continents, which are old, and oceans, which are young. On the continents, you find the 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," noted Ashwal.
He further added that, in Mauritius, there are no rocks which could possibly be older than 9 million years. However, after the researchers performed a study on the rocks of the island, they found zircons that were 3 billion years old.
By assessing these zircons, one can accurately gauge the exact period it belonged to as the mineral is believed to hold a rich record of the geographic processes.
Professor Ashwal also asserted that the team discovered zircons which were of the same age, which further supports their theory that the existence of really ancient crustal materials under Mauritius may have resulted from the lost continents.
He also suggested that several pieces of this "undiscovered continent" of various sizes are spread across the Indian Ocean, which is due to the breaking of the Gondwanaland. If the discovery of this lost continent turns out to be true, this may lead to a massive change in how people perceive history itself.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
Check out a short video about the lost continent.