Don’t say lost continent under Indian Ocean is Atlantis

When I saw this story, I knew someone would go there. Good job MSN Now.

Lost continent discovered under Indian Ocean.

Could ‘lost’ continent discovered in Indian Ocean be Atlantis?

Scientists discovered it by dating grains of sand on the beaches of Mauritius. Look, we’re not saying it’s Atlantis, but we’re also not NOT saying it’s Atlantis.

While this was picked up by fringe sites, it also is mentioned in other mainstream news such as here.

Lost continent found on floor of Indian ocean – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

The MSN Now reference article linked to this BBC piece which is straightforward and contains no mention of Atlantis silliness.

Researchers have found evidence for a landmass that would have existed between 2,000 and 85 million years ago.

The strip of land, which scientists have called Mauritia, eventually fragmented and vanished beneath the waves as the modern world started to take shape.

The study is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The surface of the earth is made of crustal plates the move around. They bang into each other – going up over (creating mountains like the Himalayas) or dive underneath each other though a process called subduction. Sometimes they get squished and pulled apart again, things get stacked on top of each other or they get ripped apart. It’s messy.

From the paper:

On the basis of reinterpretation of marine geophysical data4, we propose that Mauritia was separated from Madagascar and fragmented into a ribbon-like configuration by a series of mid-ocean ridge jumps during the opening of the Mascarene ocean basin between 83.5 and 61 million years ago. We suggest that the plume-related magmatic deposits have since covered Mauritia and potentially other continental fragments.

Geological papers are notorious full of jargon that make them difficult to understand by anyone except specialists in that specific area of research. But the gist is, they used really nifty and long lasting minerals called zircons that provided dates that showed a piece of older land must have existed here. At least some of the land subducted under the ocean floor, remelted and then the zircons which remained in tact were then erupted out of the volcano.

Atlantis? No. A thousand times NO. This process took millions and millions of years. The continent didn’t break up overnight. Geology mostly works slowly. This is a case where the destruction was slow and the clues were vomited up by the volcano. Neat, eh?

What’s sad is that any mention in any context of “lost continent” seems to be linked to Atlantis. That’s dumb. But once it’s mentioned, especially in a headline, you know what you hear from your facebook buddies and on “secret” forums, ATLANTIC FOUND! Stop it. Atlantis is a myth.

Atlantis: No way, No how, No where – CSI.

Image by Professor Trond Torsvik

Image by Professor Trond Torsvik

  6 comments for “Don’t say lost continent under Indian Ocean is Atlantis

  1. Chris Howard
    February 25, 2013 at 10:16 AM

    So, Plato live 85 million years ago? Wow! And I thought New Earth creationists had a poor sense of history, and geological time.

  2. Mr. Shreck
    February 25, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    It was a conspiracy by the French tourism board to do in the competition for Ile de la Réunion.

  3. February 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    How is this bit of an older continent even considered a separate continent? I don’t get it.

  4. February 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    The BBC piece says between 2000 and 85million years. That seems like a exceptionally wide range and I am guessing a mistake.

  5. February 25, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    It wasn’t Atlantis. You can tell by its location it was clearly Lemuria. JZ Knight was right all along!

  6. RDW
    February 28, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    I’m guessing that the myth of Atlantis sprang out of a naturally occurring loss of land beneath the oceans as an ice age was ending. Towns and culture would have been located near the water, because so much food could have been taken there. The Minoans were wiped out, for the most part, by a tsunami. That might have been how the connection to ancient Greeks layered into the myth. If I’m not mistaken, I seem to recall, that the Mediterranean Sea was dry at one point, and would have filled up very quickly as ice melted and over-flowed past the Rock of Gibraltar. All of this would have quickly drowned out much of the best of what would have been considered culture at the time. Toss in a hefty sprinkling of delusion and : Voila !!! – Atlantis. Of course, it could have been a big plot by invisible, dimension jumping Bigfoots. But probably not. { : )

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