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Earth Science

Long-Lost Continent Found Under the Indian Ocean 168

Posted by samzenpus
from the calling-Cthulhu dept.
ananyo writes "The drowned remnants of an ancient micro-continent may lie scattered beneath the waters between Madagascar and India, a new study suggests. Evidence for the long-lost land comes from Mauritius, a volcanic island about 900 kilometers east of Madagascar (abstract) The oldest volcanic rocks on the island date to about 8.9 million years ago. Yet grain-by-grain analyses of beach sand collected at two sites on the Mauritian coast revealed around 20 zircons — tiny crystals of zirconium silicate that are exceedingly resistant to erosion or chemical change — that were far older. One of these zircons was at least 1.97 billion years old. The researchers that made the discovery think that geologically recent volcanic eruptions brought shards of the buried continent to the Earth's surface, where the zircons eroded from their parent rocks to pepper the island's sands. Analyses of Earth's gravitational field reveal several broad areas where sea-floor crust at the bottom of the Indian ocean is much thicker than normal — at least 25 to 30 kilometers thick, rather than the normal 5 to 10 kilometers. Those crustal anomalies may be the remains of a landmass that researchers have now dubbed Mauritia, which they suggest split from Madagascar when tectonic rifting and sea-floor spreading sent the Indian subcontinent surging northeast millions of years ago."
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Long-Lost Continent Found Under the Indian Ocean

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  • by DeTech (2589785) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:22PM (#43003877)
    Atlantis?
    • by muntis (1503471) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:27PM (#43003943)
      Actually it's more likely to be Lemuria [wikipedia.org] not Atlantis.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This story is getting amazing exposure because of that. The problem is... it predates the Plato-described Atlantis by... oh, I'd say 88 million years and change. The destruction of this thing predates modern humans, thus civilization. It's so old it wouldn't even be in the collective consciousness of early early early man. Atlantis was most likely either the ancient Minoan civilization or Santorini, which were both destroyed when the volcano at Santorini completely destroyed the place. It probably didn't

      • by alen (225700)

        europe has a regular cycle of being invaded by "barbarians" from the eurasian steppes. i haven't done any hard research into the subject but it seems to average every 800 years or so.

        mongols, the Great Migration period and the fall of the roman empire, the hunnic invasion. they all come through south eastern europe, conquer the existing civilization and then take on their customs and live in the area.

        same with greece, around 800bc there was an invasion of barbarians who became what we consider the classical

      • "The problem is... it predates the Plato-described Atlantis by... oh, I'd say 88 million years and change. The destruction of this thing predates modern humans, thus civilization"

        The Old Ones are oooooold.

        C'mon, aeons old and in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? That's obviously neither Atlantis nor Lemuria: It is R'lyeh!

        Don't go to that deep land, for you will awake the horrors of the past... PhÂnglui mglwÂnafh Cthulhu RÂlyeh wgahÂnagl fhtagn

    • Given the time-frame, I'm thinking closer to R'lyeh's true location. How about we all just leave this continent alone, 'kay?

    • Wrong ocean. This would be Mu.

  • by CyberBill (526285) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:26PM (#43003925)

    Not really found. This is like trying to find a lost child, and your search dog picks up a scent, or you find a child size shoe.

    Still lost. Not found.

    • Furthermore, I wonder what the impact this discover has, other than "hey, we know one more thing that nobody's ever going to use or ask about. Ever. Again." Pardon my bluntness, but this is right there in top 5 of most arid, useless discoveries I ever heard about.

      • Pardon my bluntness, but this is right there in top 5 of most arid, useless discoveries I ever heard about.

        I'm sure that there's plenty of geologists and paleo-geologists who will disagree.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm sure that there's plenty of geologists and paleo-geologists who will disagree.

          I work with paleogeologists and there are lots of cool discoveries every day. I don't see what's special about this one, beyond the hype of calling a destroy microplate a "lost continent".

      • by gmuslera (3436)
        Most of modern life is based on a lot of arid, useless discoveries or technologies by the time they were done.
    • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:35PM (#43004053) Homepage

      If you ever drop your continent into a river of molten lava, let it go, because, man, it's gone.

  • Surely you mean Atlantis.

    • by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:51PM (#43004251)
      Nope, it's the long lost city of Atlanta; home of the coca cola bottling plant and other things than the gigantic airport hub.
      • by Muad'Dave (255648)

        Yeah, like every single road being named Peachtree something-or-other.

        • Yeah, like every single road being named Peachtree something-or-other.

          It's not that bad. Probably not more than a dozen or so named Peachtree.

          Or were you including the ones outside the downtown area too?

          • by Muad'Dave (255648)

            [Ab]Using google maps I get 23. I'm not sure what you call outside downtown - I'm a country boy - it's ALL downtown to me!

            Peachtree St NE
            Peachtree St NW
            Peachtree Rd NE
            Peachtree Center Ave NE
            Peachtree Ave NE
            Peachtree Battle Ave NW
            Peachtree Circle NE
            Peachtree Dunwoody Road
            Peachtree Dunwoody Road Northeast
            Peachtree Dunwoody Circle
            Peachtree Dunwoody Court NE
            Peachtree Drive
            Peachtree Rd NW
            Old Peachtree Rd NW
            Peachtree Hills Ave NE
            Peachtree Hills Circle NE
            Peachtree Industrial Blvd
            Peachtree Industrial Court
            Peachtree

            • [Ab]Using google maps I get 23. I'm not sure what you call outside downtown - I'm a country boy - it's ALL downtown to me!

              Alas, it was meant as a joke - used to live in Atlanta, and everything being named "Peachtree" was a running gag then (probably still is)....

    • Atlantis would be in the Atlantic Ocean. Since this was found in the Indian Ocean, it would be Indiana....
  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:33PM (#43004019)
    According to the article, they entire civilization was using Windows 8 right before it sunk. Their continental IT department tried to roll out touchscreens and then the whole place sank into the sea. Strange, but not unexpected.
  • Atlantis DID go south, only what you get radically differs from what Plato thought there was: not philosophers, but tiny apes inhabit it.
  • Plate tectonics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:39PM (#43004083) Homepage Journal

    Remnants of MANY lost continents lay under the ocean floor.
    And at the top of mountains too.
    And those lost continents were made from remnants of previous lost continents.

    Someone just discovered geology. Amazing.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I love that every idiot on Slashdot thinks he is an expert in EVERYTHING.
      • by Jeng (926980) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:52PM (#43004269)

        Yes, that is an unfortunate effect of dealing with stupid people all day, you end up feeling really smart when you are really just a step above those you help.

        • by H0p313ss (811249)

          Yes, that is an unfortunate effect of dealing with stupid people all day, you end up feeling really smart when you are really just a step above those you help.

          You can call them stupid all you like, I call them customers and they pay the bills nicely.

          • by Jeng (926980)

            Very true.

            I know the people I help are not stupid, they just don't have the same knowledge I have, much like I don't have the same knowledge they do.

            Doesn't make me smarter than them.

    • And, the definition of what constitutes a continent is rather subjective. Any definition one tries to establish has many leaks that result in either very few continents or dozens of them.

    • by mikael (484)

      And in the desert, like the The Silk Road, a merchant route between Europe and China. If the archeologists are really lucky, there are also remains of pottery and artwork, grafitti and once, even a diary carved into a soft clay pot (even 6000 years, people wanted to keep track of personal events).

    • by Pav (4298)
      Actually, most sea floor is pretty new, being only a few hundreds of thousands of years old. Not surprising if you understand plate tectonics... new sea floor is being created at plate boundaries and gets pushed towards the continents.
  • Found!, along with 200 million unmatched socks

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Found!, along with 200 million unmatched socks

      All left feet?

      • by tqk (413719)

        Found!, along with 200 million unmatched socks

        All left feet?

        You didn't think very hard on that, did you? I've never seen socks that were left vs. right dependant, other than those funny Japanese slippers with toes (cf. gloves).

  • So, if continents are floating in the Earth's crust that is forming at the Atlantic ridge for one and submerging at the Pacific ridge, why isn't the surface being completely reformed and continents regularly melted completely and recycles? Do the major continents float on top of the crust?

    • by armanox (826486)

      My understanding (and I am not a geologist) is that this is what happens. It's just that "regular cylces" on the timeline are very long.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      its called subduction, the continents are on the tectonic plates which float and move around. The San Andreas fault in California is a prime example of subduction, the pacific plate is subducting and recycling the north american plate.

    • Do the major continents float on top of the crust?

      Yes.

  • The Sleestak there are demanding reparations for disturbing their peace.

  • old news (Score:4, Funny)

    by nimbius (983462) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:47PM (#43004201) Homepage
    Made my way to Mauritius last weekend while trying to get to the airport Marriott with Apple Maps.
  • Very confusing (Score:5, Informative)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday February 25, 2013 @12:54PM (#43004281) Journal
    The last pangea was about 300 million years ago. Indian subcontinent dashed across the Indian ocean and rammed into the underbelly of Asia just 70 million years ago. But these zircon cyrstals are 1900 million years ago. Enough time for one or two pangeas to form and break apart. The data is data, never argue with it. The crust could be 20 km thick where Arabian Sea is today and these crystals could be 1.9 billion years old. But I wish there is a better explanation than this idea of a lost continent.

    I am bracing for another assault from the Tamil literature majors. There are references to sea level rise and lost cities (South Madurai) and lost rivers (Pahtruli) and lost temples (near Mamallapuram) and lost harbours (near Poompuhar) and lost grammar books (by Agastiyar ) in Tamil. Best explained by the ending of last ice age some 9000 years ago and the seas coming in a few kilometers and probably flooding a large river delta. But these guys postulate a "lost continent" of Lemuria, exactly in the Arabian Sea./Indian Ocean. Now they are going to come on like a ton of bricks claiming vindication and "proof" that the Tamil language is 1.9 billion years old. Especially since there is a literary reference that translates as, "after the rocks have appeared, but the sand has not yet been formed, [Tamils] were born with swords, the eldest civilization". That would gel with a 1.9 billion year old language.

  • Also, it does not seem as if the zircons rode to Mauritius on the wind, says Robert Duncan, a marine geologist at Oregon State University in Corvallis. âoeThereâ(TM)s a remote possibility that they were wind blown, but theyâ(TM)re probably too large to have done so,â he adds.

    How big is too large? Apparently dust gets blown quite far: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100809/full/news.2010.396.html [nature.com]

    Or could they be from an asteroid?

  • by voislav98 (1004117) on Monday February 25, 2013 @01:15PM (#43004531)
    This is why I like geologists, they are logical people. Astronomers never thought to call Pluto a microplanet.
    • by tqk (413719)

      This is why I like geologists, they are logical people. Astronomers never thought to call Pluto a microplanet.

      That was bureaucratic BS. Pluto's a planet, and a damned interesting one.

  • by Tasha26 (1613349) on Monday February 25, 2013 @01:30PM (#43004729) Homepage
    I live in Mauritius and it's a pathetic hot place (lots of rain lately) with ave. internet speeds of 30 KB/s during the day and 80 KB/s at midnight when you're supposed to be asleep. This is what you get when the telco is a monopoly (51% Mauritian owned : 49% French (Orange)).
    • by simpleguy (5686)

      Tasha26, you are giving inaccurate information to Slashdot readers. This is not the 90s anymore; the national telecommunications operator no longer holds a monopoly on internet connectivity. You can get an Internet subscriptions from other providers like ADBN, Emtel, DCL, MTML and soon. ADSL is available up to 4 Mbps (Unmetered). I am myself subscribed to a 2 Mbps unmetered connection for about USD 45/month. It is more expensive than what you would get in developed nations but keep in mind that we're on a t

      • by Tasha26 (1613349)
        Emtel etc.. they all buy from MT you dummy. This is called piggy-backing. Internet blackout (outbound international not local) happens because MT is the only one who buys bandwidth from international providers and when MT's infrastructure goes belly up nobody in Mtius can have internet. Therefore listing SAFE and others doesn't matter or impress me at all.

        I find it absolutely astounding that you list "upto 4 MBps" but not the actual speed delivered at the end user level. Don't you think that this is more
        • by simpleguy (5686)

          My 2 Mbps ADSL gives me a stable 200 KB/s at pretty much any time of the day. At least one of my customers in the capital city gets an average of 3.2 Mbps on his 4 Mbps subscription. I do have some customers who complain of their line speeds but they're mostly on the last mile so they're hitting a technological limit.

          Emtel is part of the consortium of operators of the LION2 project and as such are hooked to LION2 independently of Mauritius Telecom. When MT's infrastructure goes down, Emtel happily keeps chu

          • by Tasha26 (1613349)
            Daytime 200 KB/s or (even 100 KB/s) is impressive in this backward island. The max I got in London was 736 KB/s. But tbh, in your case I will have to see this figure to believe it! In Quatre-Bornes, ADSL sold as a 1 Mbps only delivers 30 KB/s in real terms during the day (access to international internet). My phone line itself is rated at about 6 Mbps (for TV+Internet) but who the hell would want to visit a Mauritian website?

            Sadly everyone I know (non-business users) hates Mauritius Telecoms with a vengea
            • by simpleguy (5686)

              I do not work for Mauritius Telecom. I have no motivation to lie about the yield of my residential ADSL 2 Mbps.
              To illustrate, I have uploaded some June 2012 bandwidth graphs [imgur.com] saved from my old firewall for your review.

              Regards

  • Headline: Long lost continent found

    Article: Long lost micro-continent found

    Next headline: New startup sells $5 cars

    Next headline's article: New startup sells $5 toy cars.

    I mean, come on.

  • Hopefully we don't run into him or Aquaman...they can get kinda nasty when people invade their turfs.
  • 93 posts and nobody mentioned EDEN! And Atlantis was in the "Atlantic" ocean, duh.

    I fear for the education of today's children on mythology. You are all making me feel old.

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21551149 [slashdot.org]

    Researchers have found evidence for a landmass that would have existed between 2,000 and 85 million years ago.

    This potentially places the landmass above sea level during a time when humanity could have been present on it.

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