Cape Town – We’re learning something new about the planet we call home almost every day. And even as we speak, there are species of plants and animals that are completely unknown and still being discovered by humans.
But to think that we’ve miscounted an entire continent when we first scanned the surface of the earth is quite ludicrous, really. That’s Mother Nature for you – punching you in the gut as soon as you think you have the basics down.
Here’s the low-down: A new ‘Lost Continent’ has been discovered right underneath the island of Mauritius, captured in time beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean. But don’t start thinking about Atlantis myths. The new discovery documents a fragment of continent that was buried, rather than ‘lost’ per se’ .
It’s presumed the landmass was once part of a larger super-continent, but later fractured into ribbons. When, by chance, the volcanic eruption that created Mauritius occurred, about 9 million years ago, the fragment of continent was blanketed by lavas, and buried many kilometres below.
The evidence is concrete: “Our findings confirm the existence of continental crust beneath Mauritius,” the geo-scientists behind the discovery write in the publication on on Nature Communications.
Understandably, the discovery is making waves around the world. And what makes it even greater, is that the discovery was led by a South-African based geoscientist, born in the US, who has lived and worked in SA since 1990.
Apart from discovering buried continents, Professor Lewis Ashwal is a lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.