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Have Scientists Discovered Proof for the Lost Continent of Lemuria?
The below information is research conducted by Professors, Geologists and Academics - Research Facts
Most people have heard of the lost continent of Atlantis. Some know about the legendary lost continent of Lemuria and the semi-mythical land of Kumari Kandam as well. But have you heard of the continent of Mauritia? This landmass formed a part of Madagascar and India and scientists say the rest of the continent is now lying at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
That is where they think it has been for approximately the last 85 million years. Scientist have now confirmed that the ancient continental crust underneath the island of Mauritius is a remnant of the break-up of the supercontinent, Gondwana, that happened about 200 million years ago.
Gondwana broke up to become Antarctica, Africa, Australia, and South America. There are still some amazing remnants of the supercontinent that can be seen around the world, but much of its story has been covered over by other geological forces. The discovery of Mauritia is another example attesting to Gondwana’s former glory and break-up.
The continents Laurasia and Gondwana 200 million years ago. ( CC BY 3.0 )
New Scientist says “The first clues to the continent’s existence came when some parts of the Indian Ocean were found to have stronger gravitational fields than others, indicating thicker crusts. One theory was that chunks of land had sunk and become attached to the ocean crust below.”
The scientists noted that Mauritius was one of the places with a stronger gravitational pull, and, upon closer inspection of some zircon crystals of the island’s beaches, they discovered that the crystals are up to 3 billion years old. This is surprising as Mauritius is only 8 million years old. Le Morne Brabant Peninsula, Mauritius. (Sofitel So Mauritius/ CC BY NC ND 2.0 )
When India and Madagascar began to move apart about 85 million years ago, the continent of Mauritia started to stretch and break up. As Martin Van Kranendonk at the University of New South Wales in Australia explained: “It’s like plasticine: when continents are stretched they become thinner and split apart. It’s these thin pieces that sink below the ocean.”
Study lead author Lewis Ashwal of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa suggests that there are more parts of the “undiscovered continent” which is collectively called Mauritia spread across the Indian Ocean. He said : “According to the new results, this break-up did not involve a simple splitting of the ancient super-continent of Gondwana, but rather, a complex splintering took place with fragments of continental crust of variable sizes left adrift within the evolving Indian Ocean basin.”
The location of this continent also pertains to the space of the ‘lost continent’ of Lemuria – a place that is frequently connected to the legend of Kumari Kandam by Tamil speakers, who have claimed that “there was a portion of land that was once ruled by the Pandiyan kings and was swallowed by the sea.”
As Ancient Origins has previously reported , the name Lemuria came from the “English geologist Philip Sclater [who] was puzzled by the presence of lemur fossils in Madagascar and India but not in mainland Africa and the Middle East […] Sclater proposed that Madagascar and India were once part of a larger continent, and named this missing landmass ‘ Lemuria’.” This hypothesis was accepted by the scientific community during Sclater’s time, but discredited by later scientists who deemed it implausible due to the concepts of continental drift and plate tectonics.
However, this new study suggests that Sciater could have been on to something with his ideas about Lemuria and Tamil people may have some scientific evidence supporting their ideas as well.Although the notion that “Pandiyan kings of Kumari Kandam were the rulers of the whole Indian continent, and that Tamil civilisation is the oldest civilisation in the world” is still open for debate, the continent of Mauritia suggests that there may be some truth to the Tamil legends of Kumari Kandam.
Alicia McDermott has degrees in Anthropology, International Development Studies, and Psychology. She is a Canadian who resides in Ecuador. Traveling throughout Bolivia and Peru, as well as all-over Ecuador, Alicia has increased her knowledge of Pre-Colombian sites as well as learning more about modern Andean cultures and fine-tuning her Spanish skills. She has worked in various fields such as education, tourism, and anthropology. Ever since she was a child Alicia has had a passion for writing and she has written various essays about Latin American social issues and archaeological sites.
Lava-covered piece of continent is an ancient remnant, left over from the break-up of the supercontinent, Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago.
Scientists have confirmed the existence of a “lost continent” under the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius that was left-over by the break-up of the supercontinent, Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago.
The piece of crust, which was subsequently covered by young lava during volcanic eruptions on the island, seems to be a tiny piece of ancient continent, which broke off from the island of Madagascar, when Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica split up and formed the Indian Ocean.
“We are studying the break-up process of the continents, in order to understand the geological history of the planet,” says Wits geologist, Professor Lewis Ashwal, lead author on the paper “Archaean zircons in Miocene oceanic hotspot rocks establish ancient continental crust beneath Mauritius”, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.
By studying the mineral, zircon, found in rocks spewed up by lava during volcanic eruptions, Ashwal and his colleagues Michael Wiedenbeck from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) and Trond Torsvik from the University of Oslo, guest scientist at GFZ, have found that remnants of this mineral were far too old to belong on the island of Mauritius.
“Earth is made up of two parts – continents, which are old, and oceans, which are “young”. On the continents you find rocks that are over four billion years old, but you find nothing like that in the oceans, as this is where new rocks are formed,” explains Ashwal. “Mauritius is an island, and there is no rock older than 9 million years old on the island. However, by studying the rocks on the island, we have found zircons that are as old as 3 billion years.”
Zircons are minerals that occur mainly in granites from the continents. They contain trace amounts of uranium, thorium and lead, and due to the fact that they survive geological process very well, they contain a rich record of geological processes and can be dated extremely accurately.
“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,” says Ashwal.
This is not the first time that zircons that are billions of years old have been found on the island. A study done in 2013 has found traces of the mineral in beach sand. However, this study received some criticism, including that the mineral could have been either blown in by the wind, or carried in on vehicle tyres or scientists’ shoes.
“The fact that we found the ancient zircons in rock (6-million-year-old trachyte), corroborates the previous study and refutes any suggestion of wind-blown, wave-transported or pumice-rafted zircons for explaining the earlier results,” says Ashwal.
Ashwal suggests that there are many pieces of various sizes of “undiscovered continent”, collectively called “Mauritia”, spread over the Indian Ocean, left over by the breakup of Gondwanaland.
“According to the new results, this break-up did not involve a simple splitting of the ancient super-continent of Gondwana, but rather, a complex splintering took place with fragments of continental crust of variable sizes left adrift within the evolving Indian Ocean basin.”