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Ancient lost continent discovered in Indian Ocean

Feb 27 (): Scientists claim that they have discovered remains of an ancient lost continent between Madagascar and India, which is now believed to have buried under huge masses of lava.

Researchers have found indication for a landmass that would have existed between 2,000 and 85 million years ago.

The lost continent that once kept India and Madagascar joined to each other has been discovered under the Indian Ocean. The new study claims the existence of this tiny patch of land named Mauritia that disappeared tens of millions of years ago. The land broke and vanished beneath the waves as the modern world started to take shape.

A famous tourist spot, Mauritius (map) is located about 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) off the coast of Africa, east of Madagascar. Researchers analysed sands from the isle of Mauritius in the Western Indian Ocean. The sand contained fragments of the mineral zircon that are far older than the island, between 660 million and about 2 billion years old.

The zircon fragments were estimated to be remnants of ancient land that had been dragged up to the surface of the island during a volcanic eruption.

A group of geologists now think that further fragments of Mauritia exist below the waves, as a sunken continent much like a certain mythological landmass.

Professor Trond Torsvik, from the University of Oslo, Norway, said that he believed pieces of Mauritia could be found about 10km down beneath Mauritius and under a strip of the Indian Ocean.

The experts also exhibited models of the plate tectonics to calculate exactly where and how the Mauritia pieces ended up in the Indian Ocean.

The trapped continent was once part of a much larger continent with India and Madagascar. Eventually, the landmass broke apart, leaving so-called “Mauritia” on its own to be overpowered by waves and sucked under the sea.

To learn more about the source of this ancient zircon, the scientists investigated satellite maps of Earth’s gravity field. The strength of the field depends on Earth’s mass, and since the planet’s mass is not spread evenly, its gravity field is stronger in some places on the planet’s surface and weaker in others.

There is still plenty of research that needs to be done before all scientists agree with the theory.