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Scientists discovered a 3-billion-year-old 'lost continent' beneath the Indian Ocean

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Lost continent Mauritius

WATCH | Researchers discuss a "lost continent" near Mauritius 

Cartographers may have to start making adjustments to their maps.

New research shows a three-billion-year-old "lost continent" lurking beneath the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, CBS News reported. Iridescent flecks of rocks known as zircons from the island nation date back to one of the earliest periods in Earth's history.

“The fact that we have found zircons of this age proves that there are much older crustal materials under Mauritius that could only have originated from a continent,” Lewis Ashwal, lead author of the new study and a geologist at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa, said in a statement.

As to how the lost continent came to be, the new study suggests that a small piece of a primeval continent was left behind after the supercontinent Gondwana had split up Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica more than 200 million years ago.

Ashwal added, "According to the new results, this breakup did not involve a simple splitting of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, but rather a complex splintering took place, with fragments of continental crust of variable sizes left adrift within the evolving Indian Ocean basin."

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