US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — A group of geologists from Australia and France analyzed the rocks of several islands located in the southern Indian Ocean and came to the conclusion that a new continent is emerging in these places. The authors of the study published an article in the journal Terra Nova.
The work of scientists was carried out on the islands of the Kerguelen archipelago in the Indian Ocean near Antarctica. Researchers have found that continental crust forms in these places.
Prior to this, it was believed that this process could not occur in the central part of the ocean, since the oceanic crust is less thick than the continental. Moreover, the oceanic crust contains more basaltic rocks, while the continental contains more granite.
Previously, scientists believed that the formation of the continental crust occurs at the junction of continents and oceans. During the mixing of the lithospheric plates of the ocean and the continent, granite magma forms, forming the upper continental layer.
Researchers believe that the formation of the continental crust in the middle of the ocean is a rather unusual phenomenon, but this is how new continents appear. It turned out that the crust of the volcanic archipelago contains the same amount of granite as in the existing continents.
According to geologists, the Kegelen massif of syenites (igneous rock) can be considered the “embryo of the continent”, which will fully form in several million years. From the point of view of geology, this is considered a short time.
Scientists are currently studying the chemical composition of syenites to confirm the validity of their hypothesis.
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