“Mauritia” – An ancient micro-continent found under Indian Ocean

A detailed article in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests that the remains of a micro-continent named “Mauritia” might be preserved under huge amounts of ancient lava beneath the Indian Ocean. This study further suggests that such micro-continents may have occurred more often than formerly thought.

Researchers suggest that volcanic chains in the middle of tectonic plates, such as the Hawaiian Islands, are induced by giant pillars of hot molten rock known as mantle plumes. These mantle plumes rise up from near the Earth’s core, penetrating overlying material like a blowtorch.

As per the researchers, it appears that Mantle plumes triggered continental breakups, softening the tectonic plates from below until they fragmented and thus how the lost continent of Eastern Gondwana ended about 170 million years ago.

The researchers also held that Mauritius is part of a contiguous block of abnormally thick crust that extends in an arc northward to the Seychelles islands. The study hints Mauritius and the adjacent region overlie an ancient micro-continent they call “Mauritia”.



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