'Lost Continent' Detected Under Indian Ocean
'Mauritia' believed to have sunk millions of years ago
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2013 1:17 AM CST
Updated Feb 25, 2013 7:30 AM CST
The Seychelles may be a surviving fragment of the lost land.   (Wikimedia/Tobias Alt)

(Newser) – The remains of an ancient continent ripped apart by plate tectonics tens of millions of years ago may lie under the Indian Ocean, researchers say. Scientists who analyzed beach sand on the island of Mauritius found tiny crystals of zirconium silicate that were hundreds of millions of years older than any rocks on the island, Nature reports. They believe the zircons hint at the existence of a landmass they have called Mauritia, which was sunk around the same time the landmass that became India started to move north from Madagascar. Plate movement reconstruction and gravity mapping backs up their theory.

Researchers believe the Seychelles may be a surviving fragment of the lost continent, the BBC reports. "At the moment the Seychelles is a piece of granite, or continental crust, which is sitting practically in the middle of the Indian Ocean," the lead researcher says. "But once upon a time, it was sitting north of Madagascar. And 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." Finding out more about what remains of the long-lost land will require seismic data or some very expensive drilling, he says.

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Showing 3 of 19 comments
ewd76
Feb 25, 2013 11:52 AM CST
It's Atlantis.
BinThereDunThat
Feb 25, 2013 9:48 AM CST
All I wish is I was on that beach in the picture, I think I would be blissfully happy. :)
Imhotep
Feb 25, 2013 7:53 AM CST
In order for something to be LOST someone ( A human being) needs to claim that it was once in their possession. Have they found human remains ? This event occured way before humans roamed the planet. It is a land mass that was swallowed up by the ocean millions of years ago just like so many other land masses that existed before humans. An interesting find but not a lost continent. Atlantis is a lost continent since people once lived on it and it's existence is acknowledged in ancient writings. Calling large land masses millions of years old and now under water lost continents is misleading. It might be acceptable to call it a continent that once existed and is now underwater but even calling it a continent is debatable since it evokes human habitation.