Science Review (By Our Science Desk)
It sounds really unbelievable that in spite of the advancement of science, we still didn’t know of the existence a continent somewhere outside our purview. There is good news though, as we now know where it is. And we can get to the bottom of where it’s been all this time.
According to Time Magazine, the continent lies under the waters of the Indian Ocean. It’s actually located beneath the small island nation of Mauritius, which is only 790 square miles big!
Mauritius has always been on geologists’ radar because of its strong gravitational pull. It sits atop a “mascon,” meaning a mass concentration of gravity caused by plate tectonics.
Scientists say that if Mauritius is on top of a “mascon,” it’s because plate tectonics caused a missing continent to shatter.
In a new academic paper published in Nature Communications, geoscientist Lewis Ashwal argues that 13 small grains of zircon confirm the existence of the missing continent.
“Our findings confirm the existence of continental crust beneath Mauritius,” the researchers write in the paper.
Ashwal collected zircon samples from the island and used uranium-lead dating techniques to discover their age. He discovered that the zircon is actually three billion years old, even though the island itself is only eight million years old. Therefore, the zircon wasn’t formed along with Mauritius, but already existed. Ashwal says underwater volcanoes brought the zircon onto the surface.
Scientists concluded that “a giant swath of land” once existed between India and Madagascar. It was a part of the supercontinent called Gondwanaland. But about 200 million years ago, Gondwanaland broke apart. And part of the landmass fractured and sank. The sunken land created “mascons,” volcanoes which created Mauritius, and eruptions brought the zircon onto Mauritius.
Isn’t it indeed curious that there had always been another continent that we all had no clue about?