A NEW study suggests that the remains of an ancient continent may be buried at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
The discovery was made by a team of scientists from Norway, Britain, Germany and South Africa working on the island of Mauritius. They found that sands on the island’s coastline were at least 650 million years old, and possibly just under 2 billion years old.
The team deduced that special minerals, known as zircons, which were found in the sand were dredged up from the sea floor by a volcanic eruption.
These were then deposited on the island’s beaches, suggesting that the ancient material the zircons were drawn from must have been in close proximity.
The team’s study paper, published in Nature Geoscience, suggests that Mauritius was once part of a large land block which the researchers have dubbed Mauritia.
Gravitational tests have determined areas of sea-floor crust up to three times thicker than normal, and these are thought to be the remains of Mauritia.