Exploring The 'Lost And Found' Continent Of Mauritia

First Posted: May 05, 2017 04:00 AM EDT

Researchers have found the lost continent that had once been connected to Madagascar and India in the Gondwana supercontinent. They called this new continent Mauritia, in which the fragments of it were found on the tropical paradise island of Mauritius.

It is reported that the lost continent, "Mauritia," vanished into the Indian Ocean around 84 million years ago. The evidence showed zircons that were found in rocks and have been brought up from buried continental crust as fragments within the basalt, which represents the oldest formations on the island. The zircon crystals dated between 660 and 1,970 million years are considered older than basalt that is about 8.9 million years old. The microcontinent is about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) from the Seychelles to Mauritius.

Lewis Ashwal from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and one of the researchers said that Mauritius is an island and there is no rock older than 9 million years old on the island. He further said that the zircons that could be found there are about 5 or 6 million years, yet a small number are almost 3,000 million. He added that Earth is only about 4.5 billion years old. With this, zircons from 3 billion years ago could refer to Earth's earliest days.

Ashwal also explained that zircons could have been found in continents. "There is nowhere in the ocean that you'd go to find continental material that old." He further explained that Mauritius lies in the ocean and this rock has ancient zircons; therefore, it could be that there is a piece of a continent under there.

In the west side of Mauritius in the Black River Gorges National Park is the Chamarel, in which the exposed mountainside has zircons that were embedded in the solid rock. One can also drop by at the ultra-luxurious Lakaz Chamarel restaurant and a boutique hotel, according to CNN.

The island also offers a beachfront just north past Port Louis. In this area, there were more zircons found along the sand and the black basalt rocks. The beach is also famous for picnics and evening strolls among the locals.

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