Rumor: 'Lost continent' found buried on Indian Ocean floor

Researchers studying sand taken from beaches of Mauritius have found evidence of a possible ‘drowned continent’ under the Indian Ocean.

CONFIRMED: New research suggests an ancient continent fragment is hidden beneath the ocean

New research claims traces of an ancient continent are hidden beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean, according to reports by Daily Mail, Yahoo and other news outlets.

Researchers suggest the microcontinent, known as Mauritia, detached about 60 million years ago while Madagascar and India, which were once neighbors, drifted apart, according to the Daily Mail.

Scientists believe the continent was concealed beneath huge masses of lava. One part of the continent survived, which now forms the Seychelles — a group of isolated islands between Madagascar and India.

'Continental crust'

Trond Torsvik, a scientist from the University of Oslo, said a piece of granite or "continental crust" is now sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but was once in place north of Madagascar, according to Yahoo.

"What we're saying is that maybe this was much bigger and there are many of these continental fragments which are spread around in the Indian Ocean,” said Torsvik.

Scientists believe the continent submerged when India and Madagascar separated as the continental plates moved.

Discovered by grains of sand

A team of researchers discovered grains of sand, which dated back to a volcanic eruption about 9 million years ago, from the beaches of Mauritius, but according to the Daily Mail, analysis showed they contained minerals that were much older.

“We found zircons that we extracted from the beach sands, and these are something you typically find in a continental crust,” Torsvik told BBC. “They are very old in age.”

Researchers said the zircon dated from between 1,970 and 600 million years ago and had been dragged up to the surface during a volcanic eruption.

But further research is still needed to fully investigate proof of the lost continent.

"We need seismic data which can image the structure ... this would be the ultimate proof. Or you can drill deep, but that would cost a lot of money,” Torsvik told BBC.

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