According to Prof Lewis Ashwal from Wits University's School of Geography, his team recovered special minerals in a volcanic rock which were formed between 2500 to 3000 million years ago.
Given that the volcanoes in Mauritius are very young (no more than about 9 million years old), this was an unusual and unexpected discovery. This piqued the scientists' interest and has resulted in the publishing of their findings.
Our explanation is that there must be a piece continent under there through which these larvas passed on the way to the service and picked up these old grains, which we now can analyse.— Professor Lewis Ashwal, School of Geography at Wits University
We suggest there may be other ones littered throughout the Indian Ocean. It's exciting because we can now much better reconstruct pieces of continent to their positions and times at which they must have been joined together, so it allows us understand how continents break apart 200 million years ago.— Professor Lewis Ashwal, School of Geography at Wits University
Take a listen to Prof. Ashwal share his discovery on CapeTalk:
This article first appeared on 702 : Chance discovery of a new continent under Mauritius