Found: Prehistoric mini-continent

2013-02-25 11:59
Scientists have said that they had found traces of a micro-continent hidden underneath the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Scientists have said that they had found traces of a micro-continent hidden underneath the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Scientists said on Sunday they had found traces of a micro-continent hidden underneath the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.

The slab, dubbed Mauritia, was probably formed around 61 - 83 million years ago after Madagascar split from India, but eventually broke up and became smothered by thick lava deposits, they said.

In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists analysed beach sand on Mauritius that contained ancient zircons between 660 million and about two billion years old.

The minute chips of mineral were a remarkable find, as they were buried in sand formed only recently in geological terms - from nine-million-year-old volcanic rock.

"The zircon points to the existence of fragments of an ancient micro-continent beneath the island (Mauritius), pieces of which were brought to the surface by recent volcanic activity," said a Nature statement.

The Indian Ocean floor may be littered with hidden land fragments that broke off as the once super-continent Pangea split up and formed the continents we know today, the paper suggests.

Pangea began to rift about 200 million years ago, yielding Gondwana in the south and Laurasia in the north.

Gondwana in turn split into Madagascar, Australia, Antarctica and India between 80 and 130 million years ago.

The new study suggests that Mauritia became detached when Madagascar and India split up.

The Seychelles, it adds, could be like Mauritia - another continental fragment that, however, is visible.
Read more on:    palaeonotlogy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.