RIO DE JANEIRO Brazilian and Japanese researchers say a granite formation deep off the coast of Brazil could be a piece of an original continent that existed before the Americas, Africa, Europe and other major land masses drifted apart.
After a month long expedition using a research submarine, the scientists say the so-called Rio Grande Elevation, a rise on the ocean floor about 1,500 km (932 miles) southeast of Rio de Janeiro, features granite and minerals, including iron, manganese, and cobalt, that differentiate it from the rest of the surrounding seabed.
As such, the researchers believe, the formation could be a lost piece of Pangaea, the sole continent that geologists say existed before today's continents began to drift apart hundreds of millions of years ago.
While the hypothesis must still be tested through further research, the lost piece "could revolutionize our understanding of the formation and evolution of the Earth's crust," said Roberto Ventura, a director at the Brazilian Geological Service and a member of the team that announced the discovery on Monday.
The research was conducted aboard the Shinkai 6500, a Japanese submarine currently deployed as part of a joint mission by the Brazilian Geological Service, the Oceanographic Institute of the University of Sao Paulo and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.
The mission, which will resume after a break in Rio, is gathering geological and biological samples collected in various portions of the South Atlantic.
(Reporting By Paulo Prada; Editing by Sandra Maler)
Trending On Reuters
The selection of a hard-line cleric as the new Taliban chief on Wednesday all but dashes U.S. President Barack Obama's hopes for opening peace talks before he leaves office, one of his top foreign policy goals, current and former U.S. defence and intelligence officials said. Full Article
- Japan's Abe takes G7 leaders to shrine as economy tops summit agenda
- Exclusive: EU launches contingency talks for Brexit vote - sources
- Islamic State claims fatal stabbing of Bangladeshi Hindu - monitor SITE
- China says its people will never stand for Taiwan independence
- Eight protesters arrested at Trump rally in California