Drilling by the Joides Resolution research vessel, which traverses the seas extracting samples from beneath the sea floor, suggests that the continent, about a third the size of present day Australia, sank from sight only 20 million years ago.
It lies beneath the southern Indian Ocean. Called the Kerguelen Plateau, it is one of the most remote places on Earth.
|A recovered sample |
of the 'lost continent'
PORES AND POLLEN
It brought to the surface many types of rocks associated with explosive volcanism, as well as sedimentary rocks similar to those found in India and Australia.
"We found abundant evidence that much of the Kerguelen Plateau formed above sea level," said Dr Mike Coffin of the University of Texas.
|Sending the drill |
bit down to the sea floor
Scientists believe that it rose out of the ocean about 110 million years ago, following a series of huge volcanic eruptions.
Fifty million years ago, it may have been covered in lush ferns, moist with tropical humidity.
|The 'core store' on |
the Joides Resolution
Twenty million years ago, it started to sink beneath the waves of what is now the Indian Ocean.
Scientists hope that studying the region will help them understand the break-up of Australia, India and Antarctica.
Courtesy : BBC News; Thursday, May 27, 1999