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Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 29627848
Belgium
02/25/2013 10:17 AM
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Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean
"Sand from Mauritian beaches reveals rock from ancient landmass.

Sid Perkins
24 February 2013

The beaches of Mauritius contain fragments of a type of rock typical of ancient continental crust — rock which could have been brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions.

The drowned remnants of an ancient microcontinent may lie scattered beneath the waters between Madagascar and India, a new study suggests.

Evidence for the long-lost land comes from Mauritius, a volcanic island about 900 kilometres east of Madagascar. The oldest basalts on the island date to about 8.9 million years ago, says Bjørn Jamtveit, a geologist at the University of Oslo. Yet grain-by-grain analyses of beach sand that Jamtveit and his colleagues collected at two sites on the Mauritian coast revealed around 20 zircons — tiny crystals of zirconium silicate that are exceedingly resistant to erosion or chemical change — that were far older.

The zircons had crystallized within granites or other igneous rocks at least 660 million years ago, says Jamtveit. One of these zircons was at least 1.97 billion years old.
Related stories

Jamtveit and his colleagues suggest that rocks containing the wayfaring zircons originated in ancient fragments of continental crust located beneath Mauritius. They propose that geologically recent volcanic eruptions brought shards of the crust to Earth’s surface, where the zircons eroded from their parent rocks to pepper the island’s sands. The team's work is published today in Nature Geoscience1.
Crustal remains

The paper also suggests that not just one but many fragments of continental crust lie beneath the floor of the Indian Ocean. Analyses of Earth’s gravitational field reveal several broad areas where sea-floor crust is much thicker than normal — at least 25 to 30 kilometres thick, rather than the normal 5 to 10 kilometres.

Those crustal anomalies may be the remains of a landmass that the team has dubbed Mauritia, which they suggest split from Madagascar when tectonic rifting and sea-floor spreading sent the Indian subcontinent surging northeast millions of years ago. Subsequent stretching and thinning of the region’s crust sank the fragments of Mauritia, which together had comprised an island or archipelago about three times the size of Crete, the researchers estimate.

The team chose to collect sand, rather than pulverize local rocks, to ensure that zircons inadvertently trapped in rock-crushing equipment from previous studies did not contaminate their fresh samples. The nearest known outcrop of continental crust that could have produced the Mauritian zircons is on Madagascar, far across a deep sea, Jamtveit notes. Furthermore, the zircons came from Mauritian sites so remote that it is unlikely that humans carried them there.

“There’s no obvious local source for these zircons,” says Conall Mac Niocaill, a geologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who was not involved in the research.

Also, it does not seem as if the zircons rode to Mauritius on the wind, says Robert Duncan, a marine geologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis. “There’s a remote possibility that they were wind blown, but they’re probably too large to have done so,” he adds.

Other ocean basins worldwide may well host similarly submerged remains of “ghost continents”, Mac Niocaill notes in an accompanying News & Views article2. Only detailed surveys of the ocean floor, including geochemical analyses of their rocks, will reveal whether the splintered and now submerged Mauritia has any long-lost cousins, he suggests."

[link to www.nature.com]

They are very cautious and call it a "microcontinent".It remains a fact it is "typical of ancient continental crust".

But what's this - a "microcontinent" ? Should be remnants of an actual continent, shouldn't it ?
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 29627848
Belgium
02/25/2013 10:22 AM
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Re: Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean
After posting this, I notice I am not the first: there are about five other threads about the exact same thing!

Oh well.

Just let me add that they will undoubtedly explain this find with Pangaea and Gondwana hypotheses - for the time being they mention a local microcontinent they already baptized "Mauritia". Nice name.

Lemuria anyone ?
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 34699297
United States
02/25/2013 10:25 AM
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Re: Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean
Lemuria?

Dilmun?

[link to www.google.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 31781644
United States
02/25/2013 10:31 AM
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Re: Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean
cool.
Zombietard

User ID: 34914312
Argentina
02/25/2013 10:38 AM
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Re: Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean
That is the true cradle of civilization.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 35146716
Belgium
02/25/2013 12:25 PM
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Re: Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean
Here the OP again (from another place).

You might be interested to know that I sent another reply to this thread which got me immediately banned, no explanation.

I was giving some links and references to sources about Atlantis and Lemuria (among which a few important authors, but also material from RS*).

Notice this is the FIFTH time I was trying to give this information in a reply, the first four replies were sent in the thread about ancient Lemurians having had a 7 headed divinity.

Each and every time I got immediately the ban message.

Reach your own conclusions.

(*) I think quoting his name may have gotten me banned, so I am not writing it in full again (just in case).
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 35146716
Belgium
02/25/2013 12:28 PM
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Re: Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean
Lemuria?

Dilmun?

[link to www.google.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 34699297

As far as I can see from those Google returns, this Dilmun is not likely to be related to Lemuria (but it might be).
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 34471515
Canada
02/25/2013 02:38 PM
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Re: Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean
0:24 to 1:12


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