"Earth is made up of two parts -- continents, which are old, and oceans, which are 'young'. On the continents you find rocks that are over four billion years old, but you find nothing like that in the oceans, as this is where new rocks are formed," Lewis Ashwal, a professor of geology at Wits University in South Africa, said in a news release. "Mauritius is an island, and there is no rock older than 9 million years old on the island. However, by studying the rocks on the island, we have found zircons that are as old as 3 billion years."
"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," Ashwal added.
Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation, is known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. The mountainous interior includes Black River Gorges National Park, with rainforests, waterfalls, hiking trails and wildlife like the flying fox. Capital Port Louis has sites such as the Champs de Mars horse track, Eureka plantation house and 18th-century Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens.
Fact Sheet (Mauritius):
- Capital: Port Louis
- Dialing code: +230
- Currency: Mauritian rupee
- President: Ameenah Gurib
- Prime minister: Anerood Jugnauth