It was thus that a trip to the African continent, more precisely to Mauritius, turned out to be a revealing study. Small fragments of minerals have been discovered at least three billion years ago, on the island’s rocks, ABC said. This island of volcanic origin only emerged about ten million years ago, that is, where did these pieces of rock so old?
According to the scientists at the University of the Witwatersrand, their origin has a very simple explanation: they come from an ancient continental plate located below the island and called Mauritius, which they called the “lost continent”. “We are studying the process of separating the continents, in order to understand the geological history of the planet”, said Lewis Ashwal, one of the authors of this study, in a statement. Thus, part of this history is also to understand how the evolution of the most recently formed oceanic crust was made, and the continental one, much older, especially in hot zones, where islands of volcanic origin, such as Mauritius, are located.
“The Earth is made up of two parts: the continents, which are ancient, and the oceans, which are younger. On the continents, it is possible to find rocks that are more than four billion years old, but this is not the case in the oceans, which are where new rocks are formed”, Ashwal explained.
This discovery of minerals over three billion years ago, now proves that Mauritius is a distinct case, “The fact that we discovered so ancient minerals proves that beneath the island is a crust that could only have originated from A continent”, said the researcher. Thus, they came to the conclusion that Mauritius has a very old continental crust that later ended up being covered with lava during the formation process of the archipelago of the Mascarenhas islands, of which Mauritius is a part.
The researchers suggest that the piece of earth’s crust was part of the supercontinent of Gondwana, formed during the Jurassic period. After this formation began to separate about 200 million years ago, as a consequence of the movement of the tectonic plates and that was the result of the fragments of minerals found, which eventually drifted in the Indian Ocean.