MAURITIA: The last continent to be discovered?

MAURITIA: The last continent to be discovered?

Every time you think the biggest secrets of our planet have been revealed by now, some scientist comes around to blow your mind! But at least all the continents are discovered right? I mean, they are big enough…

Well, apparently not. Geologists of the South African Wit University recently discovered the sunken and scattered continent of “Mauritia” in the middle of the Indian Ocean!

 

What is Mauritia?

As you probably figured out by now, the continent Mauritia was named after our beautiful island. It is a continent that ones lay between Africa and India. According to Lewis D. Ashwal and his team the super continent Gondwana did not just split apart to create Africa and India. The continental mass in-between those two continents rather scattered into small pieces which now can be found in the Indian Ocean. These pieces are now collectively called Mauritia.

 

The science in short

But why did scientists only discover this in 2016/17? Well, Mauritia hid itself pretty well. Broken into pieces and sunken under the ocean scientist needed complicated analytical methods involving gravitational anomalies and radiation to proof it is there.

To understand what they did, you need to understand two essential rules:

1. New rock is created in oceans. As a result oceans are made from young rock and continents from old.

2. The more mass there is, the higher gravitation becomes.

 

Feeling a bit heavy?

The first indication of Mauritia’s existence was a gravitational anomaly. In fact, gravitation on Mauritius is higher than it should be. So the next time you step on the scale after a nice dinner in your resort, you have nothing to worry about. Just blame it on Mauritia. It is the continents mass below you which adds the weight!... Or at least a part of it…

However, the actual proof for Mauritia’s existence was done by the discovery of old rocks. Mauritius itself is around 8-9 million years old. Nevertheless, the scientists were able to find rocks on the island which are about 2.5-3 Billion years old. These are way too old to have been formed by volcanic activity in the ocean like the rest of the island. They are assumed to be part of the continental mass and were dragged to the surface by volcanic activity.

@ Michael S.