The islands Reunion and Mauritius, both well-known tourist destinations, are hiding a micro-continent, which has now been discovered. The continent fragment (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) known as Mauritia detached about 60 million years ago while Madagascar and India drifted apart, and had been hidden under huge masses of lava.

Such micro-continents in the oceans seem to occur more frequently than previously thought. The break-up of continents is often associated with mantle plumes: These giant bubbles of hot rock rise from the deep mantle and soften the tectonic plates from below, until the plates break apart at the hotspots.

If the zone of the rupture lies at the edge of a land mass, fragments of it may separate off. The Seychelles are a well-known example of such a continental fragment. such micro-continents in the ocean occur more frequently than previously thought.

Do they signal the existence of a continent lost in the clouds of history? (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show too, and if you subscribe for one year, we’ll send you a coupon for a FREE tote bag!)

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