A lost continent beneath the waves

What might be hidden beneath the waves? Photo: Artem/Flickr

What might be hidden beneath the waves? Photo: Artem/Flickr

No, it’s not Atlantis – this possible continent of old would have vanished between 50 and 100 million years ago, millions of years before Homo sapiens walked the earth. Nevertheless, researchers now believe the Indian Ocean might harbor remnants of this lost Precambrian land called Mauritia, and some pieces may still be left above the waves.

Researchers point to several different pieces of evidence to support their claim. Firstly, islands in the Indian Ocean such as the Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Maldives and the Lakshadweep Islands all have an unusually strong gravitational field. The strength would be comparable to continental land, which typically has a crust about 25 kilometers thick. Oceanic crust, or crust that makes up most volcanically-formed islands, only runs about 5 to 10 kilometers deep, not deep enough to account for the island’s gravitational fields.

Secondly, researchers examined the theorized historic movement of our planet’s tectonic plates. If you followed the plates’ movement backward, researchers claim the islands with high gravitational fields were attached to India until about 90 million years ago.

Finally, researchers looked at the specific nature of the soil on the islands. Rock on the surface of Mauritius was volcanic basalt, typical of smaller islands, but the sand held zircons, minerals that are usually found in continental crust. Researchers believe that after the tectonic plates pulled apart and sent the continent to the ocean floor, volcanoes in the region became active and pushed the zicrons upward while forming the islands.

Researchers have long believed the Indian Ocean might hold a secret lost continent, but this is the first time they’ve had sufficient evidence.

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One response to “A lost continent beneath the waves

  1. I remember reading about this recently as well, it would be quite a discovery if proven true, once more evidence is found of course. Thanks for sharing the post!

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