A New Continent Has Been Discovered Under Mauritius Island
Surprise! A new continent has been discovered, so everything you know about geography is basically a lie.
OK... maybe not everything, but it's recently been confirmed there's a new piece of land on the map you definitely didn't know about before.
It's called "Mauritia," and it has been hiding underneath the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean for over 200 million years, CNN reports.
It's nice to finally meet you, Mauritia.
Apparently, a research team led by South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand made the shocking discovery of the "lost continent" while they were analyzing a mineral called zircon.
The team found zircon in the rocks that came out of the volcanic eruptions on Mauritius, and came to the conclusion the rocks are too old to have originated from the island itself.
Lewis Ashwal, a geologist studying the mineral and publisher of Nature Communications, said,
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.
In other words, geologists realized there needed to be an older continent underneath the island of Mauritius to explain the 3- billion-year-old zircon they found in the rocks being spewed onto the island.
So they discovered Mauritia underneath Mauritius.
Apparently, Mauritia was formed during the Triassic Period, when the super-continent of Gondwanaland broke apart.
Over 200 million years ago, Gondwanaland existed. It split apart into a few countries we're very familiar with today: Australia, Antarctica, South America and Africa.
These continents hold rocks that are 3.6 billion years old.
Geologists claim our new friend Mauritia was created when Gondwanaland broke into separate continents.
Mauritia -- which is currently covered in lava -- consists of remnants left behind when the super-continent split up.
It's been reported the ancient continent split from Madagascar.
Commenting on the continent's creation, Ashwal said,
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 "crust" is code word for Mauritia, which was left undiscovered after the super-continent split -- until now.
I guess it's time to start re-writing some geology text books.