Scientists find remnants of 'lost continent' lurking around Mauritius

Scientists working on the island of Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean, have found something quite remarkable – remnants of a long-lost continent called Gondwana.

According to a press release by the University of the Witwatersrand, roughly 200 million years ago, the then supercontinent began to break apart, ultimately making room for the large body of water we now call the Indian Ocean.

The fragment was discovered through the study of material on Mauritius that had been erupted by volcanoes over the eons.

Analysis revealed that, while the volcanic island shouldn't have any geological substances that date further back than about 9 million years, there existed zircons with an approximate age of 3 billion years.

Lewis Ashwal, one of researchers, said, "The fact that we have found zircons of this age proves that there are much older crustal materials under Mauritius that could only have originated from a continent."

He also noted the discovery could greatly inform the understanding of how the supercontinent came apart and provide insights into the planet's geological past.

RELATED: Turkey opens suspension bridge that connects continents

13 PHOTOS
Turkey opens suspension bridge that connects continents
See Gallery
Turkey opens suspension bridge that connects continents
Red and white balloons are released during the opening ceremony of newly built Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge, the third bridge over the Bosphorus linking the city's European and Asian sides in Istanbul, Turkey, August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the opening ceremony of newly built Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge, the third bridge over the Bosphorus linking the city's European and Asian sides in Istanbul, Turkey, August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
A general view shows the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
A general view shows the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 18, 2016. Picture taken August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
A steam-roller moves in front of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
A general view shows the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 18, 2016. Picture taken August 18, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan attends an interview with Reuters in front of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Workers climb up to a tower of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
People wave Turkish flags during the opening ceremony of newly built Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge, the third bridge over the Bosphorus linking the city's European and Asian sides, in Istanbul, Turkey, August 26, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
A general view shows the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Workers sit at the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan attends an interview with Reuters in front of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus bridge linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey, August 23, 2016. Picture taken August 23, 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story