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Traces found of ‘lost continent’ under Mauritius

Johannesburg, Feb 1: The presence of minerals that are as old as three billion years in Mauritius points to the existence of a “lost continent” underneath the Indian Ocean island, says a study. The researchers believe the lost continent was left over by the break-up of the supercontinent, Gondwa, which started about 200 million years ago. By studying the mineral, zircon, found in rocks spewed up by lava during volcanic eruptions, the scientists concluded that remnts of this mineral were far too old to belong to 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 Lewis Ashwal from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. “Mauritius is an island, and there is no rock older than nine million years old on the island. However, by studying the rocks on the island, we have found zircons that are as old as three billion years,” Ashwal, lead author of a paper noted. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita