Ancient continent hides beneath Indian Ocean









































The sands of Mauritius are hiding a secret: deep beneath them lurks an ancient continent.












Trond Torsvik and colleagues at the University of Oslo, Norway, analysed grains of zircon found on the island's beaches, measuring the balance of lead and uranium isotopes to work out their age. This showed some formed almost 2 billion years ago – although the volcanic island is no more than 65 million years old.












So where did the grains come from? Torsvik thinks they are from fragments of continental crust beneath Mauritius that melted as the volcanic island formed. The team have named the proposed continent Mauritia.












It's a reasonable idea, says Michael Wysession at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. "It's hard to imagine how zircons could be there any other way."












Journal reference: Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1736


















































If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.




































All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the "Report" link in that comment to report it to us.


If you are having a technical problem posting a comment, please contact technical support.








You're reading an article about
Ancient continent hides beneath Indian Ocean
This article
Ancient continent hides beneath Indian Ocean
can be opened in url
http://newsnaturist.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/ancient-continent-hides-beneath-indian.html
Ancient continent hides beneath Indian Ocean