Lost continent' discovered beneath Mauritius
Scientists have found strong evidence of an ancient continent hidden deep beneath the Indian Ocean.
Believed to be the remnants of the supercontinent known as Gondwana which formed around 500 million years ago, this hidden landmass was discovered by scientists studying minerals on Mauritius.
The island itself only came in to existence around 9 million years ago following a series of volcanic eruptions, but now the discovery of zircons there ( a type of durable mineral found in granite ) has suggested that something much older lies deep beneath it.
"Earth is made up of two parts - continents, which are old, and oceans, which are 'young'," said study lead author Professor Lewis Ashwal. "On the continents you find rocks that are over four billion years old, but you find nothing like that in the oceans, as this is where new rocks are formed."
"Mauritius is an island, and there is no rock older than 9 million years old on the island. However, by studying the rocks on the island, we have found zircons that are as old as 3 billion years.