A research team led by the South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand has found evidence that might result in the discovery of an ancient continent below the Indian Ocean. They found the land covered in lava and dubbed it 'Mauritia,' after discovering it under the island of Mauritius.
According to the journal Nature Communications, a piece from the continent can be barely detected and was considered to be part of Gondwanaland, a super-continent that broke up 200 million years ago. The Gondwanaland split came to what we know today as the countries of Australia, Antarctica, Africa, South America and India.
The author of the research paper, Professor Lewis Ashwal told CNN News, "There are a number of pieces of 'undiscovered continent' of various sizes spread over the Indian Ocean, left over by the breakup. This breakup did not involve a simple splitting of the ancient super-continent of Gondwana, but a complex splintering took place with fragments of continental crust of variable sizes left adrift within the evolving Indian Ocean basin."
Furthermore, Ashwal concluded, "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." It is a statement many researchers took to heart and declare "the existence of ancient continental crust beneath Mauritius."
Meanwhile, Travel + Leisure reported that Mauritius became a favorite topic of geologists and scientists because of its strong gravitational pull. Therefore, Mauritia can be said to have sunk due to crustal motions and clearly disappeared from the map.
Although the island of Mauritius is 'young,' just about eight million years old, samples of the mineral zircon along the island shows it to be 2 billion years old. It is seen possible that a land between India and Madagascar existed but sank to the waters. However, the land's volcanoes created Mauritius and have accidentally deposited some of its minerals on the island.