Tuesday Feb 26, 201309:11 AM GMT
Ancient continent fragments discovered in Indian Ocean
Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:10AM
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A team of international researchers has discovered fragments of an ancient supercontinent of earth vanished beneath the floor of the Indian Ocean.


The fragments, called Mauritia, are remains of a landmass on earth that would have existed between 2,000 and 85 million years ago, researchers say.

The earth's landmass was gathered into a vast single continent called Rodinia, according to the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The primitive land broke up and disappeared beneath the waves of the ocean during the process of forming modern world occurred about 750 million years ago.

Scientists confirmed the result after analyzing grains of sand taken from the beaches of Mauritius.

The study revealed that grains belonged to a volcanic eruption that happened about nine million years ago, while they contained minerals that were much older.

"We found zircons that we extracted from the beach sands, and these are something you typically find in a continental crust. They are very old in age," said the study leader Professor Trond H.Torsvik, from the University of Oslo, Norway.

While the zircon dated to between 1,970 and 600 million years ago, the team concluded that the fragments were remnants of ancient land that had been dragged up to the surface of the island during a volcanic eruption.

According to the study, although India and Madagascar are now separated by thousands of kilometres of ocean, they were once located next to.

About 85million years ago, as India started to drift away from Madagascar towards its current location, the microcontinent would have broken up, eventually disappearing beneath the waves, researchers elaborate.

The Seychelles islands, as a piece of granite or continental crust, which is currently sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean, once upon a time was located in north of Madagascar, Torsvik explained.

“What we are saying is that maybe this was much bigger, and there are many of these continental fragments that are spread around in the ocean," he added.

The study was conducted by the researchers from Norway, Germany, and Britain.

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