Scientists working on the island of Mauritius, located in the Indian Ocean, have found something quite remarkable – remnants of a long-lost continent called Gondwana.
Roughly 200 million years ago, the then supercontinent began to break apart, ultimately making room for the large body of water we now call the Indian Ocean.
The fragment was discovered through the study of material on Mauritius that had been erupted by volcanoes over the eons.
Analysis revealed that, while the volcanic island shouldn’t have any geological substances that date further back than about 9 million years, there existed zircons with an approximate age of 3 billion years.
Lewis Ashwal, one of researchers, said, “The fact that we have found zircons of this age proves that there are much older crustal materials under Mauritius that could only have originated from a continent.”
He also noted the discovery could greatly inform the understanding of how the supercontinent came apart and provide insights into the planet’s geological past.