Geologists have long theorized that some of the Earth’s major oceans may contain microcontinents beneath them that were drown by waves after breaking apart from larger landmasses, but until now, there was little direct evidence to support the hypothesis. Luckily for the scientific community and amateur historians everywhere, the first real shreds of proof may have been discovered in Mauritius.

The tiny island off the coast of Africa is thought to be created by cooling lava pushed up to the service approximately 9 million years ago, but recent tests done on the sand grains on the island have shown them to be between 660 million and 2 billion years old. That means either the grains tested somehow traveled from other places or the aforementioned lava encountered a continental mass on its way to the service. According to National Geographic, if the latter is true, that would mean there is at least one continent stuck beneath the Ocean and could foretell the existence of many more.

The working theory by geologists at the University of Oslo is that the trapped continent in question was once part of a much larger continent with India and Madagascar. Eventually, the landmass broke apart, leaving so-called “Mauritia” on its own to be overpowered by waves and sucked under the sea.

There's still plenty of research that needs to be done before all scientists agree, but for right now, the theory looks pretty solid.

Photo Credit: Tatiana Morozova

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