Ancient continent clues discovered

27th Feb 2013

Fragments of an ancient continent are hidden under the Indian Ocean, scientists have claimed.

Researchers in Norway found evidence of the ancient land mass, named Mauritia, on the sun-kissed beaches of Mauritius.

Professor Trond Torsvik, who led the study, explained: "At the moment the Seychelles is a piece of granite, or continental crust, which is sitting practically in the middle of the Indian Ocean. However once upon a time it was sitting to the north of Madagascar.

"What we are saying is that maybe this was much bigger, and there are many of these continental fragments that are spread around in the ocean."

A country could claim the continent for itself, says Professor Torsvik, which would then give them ownership of 200 nautical miles of ocean around it.

Hundreds of holidaymakers fly to India or Sri Lanka to regularly visit the beauty of the Indian Ocean. The scenery that tourists enjoy there today would have looked very different millions of years ago, with Mauritia located between India and Madagascar which were originally joined together. Australia was fused with Antarctica and the Americas were attached to Africa and Scandinavia.

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