It's hard not to take notice when the word "Atlantis" is uttered, and though the storied island hasn't yet been found, researchers now say they may have discovered what could be the "Brazilian Atlantis." A manned Japanese submersible has taken video of a huge granite mass off Brazil's coast that looks like it could be a lost part of a continent, left behind after South America's split from Africa 100 million years ago and finally submerged 50 million years later.
The Rio Grande Rise seabed, located more than 600 miles southeast of Rio de Janeiro and 3,000 feet underwater, contains a granite cliff, researchers found. "You don't find granite on the seabed," says a Brazilian geology official. That's because it only forms on land, the Japan Times notes—as does quartz, which was also spotted near the seabed. "This could be the Brazilian Atlantis," says a Brazilian official, per AFP via GlobalPost. He continued, "If it is the case that we find a continent in the middle of the ocean, it will be a very big discovery that could have various implications in relation to the extension of the continental shelf." Samples of the granite will be recovered later this year; that might allow scientists to determine if it matches rock from Africa or South America. (Read more Japan stories.)