Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lemuria actually existed – Geologic Evidence

India and Meganesia, comprised of Australia, New Guinea, Tasmania, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, are fragments of the once existing supercontinent called Gondwana. Seafloor-spreading separated these land masses from one another, but as the spreading centers became inactive, they fused again into a single plate. So in the region of question there exist two sunken continents: Zealandia at the western edge of the Pacific and the Kerguelen plateau in the Indian Ocean. There is also another significant plateau near the Rodrigues triple point, where the mantle’s thickness is double the average (roughly 20 km), although nowadays there is no known geologic formation under the Indian or Pacific Oceans that corresponds to the hypothetical Lemuria. However, drilling carried out in 1999 from a research vessel discovered that the Kerguelen plateau was submerged about 20 million years ago due to rising sea levels. Samples of a 90 million-year-old sediment, collected from the seabed, revealed the existence of pollen and fragments of wood.

The Kerguelen plateau (continent), which presently is submerged 1 to 2 km below sea level, was formed beginning with volcanic eruptions 110 million years ago. Its size might have been even bigger than it is now, since the Broken Ridge underwater volcanic plateau, located west of Australia, was contiguous with it. Geologic evidence presented layers of soil and charcoal, which prove that this was dry land with flora and fauna. Its sedimentary rocks are similar to the Australian and Indian ones, suggesting they were once connected, possibly forming Lemuria.

Zealandia or Tasmantis, with its 3.5 million square km territory being larger than Greenland, is another nearly submerged continent, with New Zealand being its most notable remnant. It broke away from Gondwana, then from Antarctica, and lately from Australia and became almost completely submerged (93 percent) about 23 million years ago.

An interesting huge geologic formation in the Pacific is the approximately 2 million square km volcanic basaltic Ontong Java Plateau near the Solomon Islands, located close to the Antarctic-Pacific ridge by the Louisville hotspot, formed by a mantle plume, which is a lifting of hot rock from the Earth’s mantle. This resulted in the 4,300-km long Louisville underwater chain of over 70 seamounts in the southwest Pacific, stretching to the Indo-Australian plate, and specifically to New Zealand, and which may be connected with other ridges reaching the eastern islands of the Pacific.

The Indo-Australian plate may have been connected to the African plate and the Antarctic plate, forming one plate that could host the Kerguelen continent or similar formations in the past. The theory of plate tectonics states that Madagascar and India were parts of the same continent, and if we accept the Lemurian timeline we may conclude that early humanoids may have lived on this former continent, sharing the same genetic heritage, although the land itself has now drifted apart.

The clusters of islands filling the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and India remain as possible geologic evidences. The Mascarene Islands east of Madagascar have a common volcanic origin and form a distinct ecoregion, comprising the Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues islands, the Cargados Carajos shoals, and the banks or former islands of Saya da Malha, Nazareth, and Soudan. The Mascarene plateau, with an area of over 115,000 square km extending from the Seychelles to Reunion, is another evidence for the submerged Lemurian continent, as it has very shallow waters, having depths varying between a mere 8 meters to 150 meters. The plateau presents banks consisted of former coral reefs, some of which might have been islands in the geologic near past, when sea levels were even 130 meters lower than today.

The Saya de Malha bank (in English mesh skirt) is a very shallow bank of 40,808 square km, lying southeast of the Seychelles, which reveals that the whole was above water during the Ice Age. The bank is so proper that it was the site of an attempt to create an artificial island by creating seacrete and biorock. The other bank—Nazareth—has an area of about 11,000 square km (according to some sources, this varies between 7,625 and 26,000 square km). Other remnants of Lemuria may be the islands of Seychelles, Reunion, Zanzibar, Mauritius, and Chagos. Reunion, Comoros, and Mayotte are closer to Africa, while Chagos is in the middle of the ocean, halfway from Tanzania to Java.

Seychelles is an archipelago nation of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, altogether a mere 451 square km, located 1,500 km (930 miles) east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. The main islands—the inner ones—are located on a shallow bank called Seychelles bank or Seychelles plateau, while the outer islands are situated at 230–1,150 km from the main island Mahe. The inner, central group are composed of 42 granitic islands called the Granitic Seychelles, which form the northernmost part of the Mascarene plateau, all being fragments of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana and thought to have been separated from other continents 75 million years ago. The Outer Islands comprising 46 percent are the Coralline Seychelles, five island groups made up of low-lying coral islands with dry, infertile soils. The fifth, the Amirantes Island, stretches at a distance of about 155 km, all on the shallow Amirantes bank/plateau, with depths varying between mostly 25 to 70 meters.

The Chagos group consists of 60 islands and seven atolls, having an area of around 15,000 square km, of which 12,642 square km form the Great Chagos bank, including lagoons. The Pitt bank, with almost 56 km in length and a width between 20 and 30 km, of an area of 1,317 square km and depth varying between 7 and 44 meters, makes the third largest atoll structure in the world.

The Maldives encompass 1,192 islets and 250 islands, being the lowest lying country with a maximum natural ground level of only 2.3 meters above sea level. This must have been much bigger in the period of glaciations, so this may be a reference to the classical Sanskrit texts dating back to the Vedic times mentioning the ‘‘Hundred Thousand Islands’’ (Lakshadweepa). This generic name, which would include not only the Maldives but also the Laccadives and the Chagos groups, is evidence that it was known and inhabited since ancient times, very possibly before the presumed sinking of Lemuria in 16,000 BCE, and it has been made part of it.

Lakshadweep or Laccadives/Minicoy/Amindivi Islands (the ‘‘hundred thousand islands’’) are located between Arabia and India. It officially consists of about 36 islands and islets covering in total 28 square km, but it also comprises 12 atolls, three reefs, and five submerged banks. Two banks farther north are not considered part of the group—the Angria and the Adas banks—but they have considerable size. Angria bank is a big, shallow, sunken coral atoll on the continental shelf, off the west coast of India, 40 km long by 15 km wide, with a minimum depth of 20.1 meters. Between Angria and the Laccadives lies the Adas bank, with 70 meters at its shallowest point, but all these could have been islands during the last Ice Age, with even more uplift in the previous ages, subsequently of much bigger size when Lemuria presumably existed.

Although current plate distribution may suggest the opposite, the flora and fauna of a portion of land on one plate may be the same as that of the adjacent land belonging to another plate. A good example is the northern boundary of the Indo-Australian plate with the Eurasian plate, which form the Himalaya and Hindu Kush. Its subducting boundary crosses the ocean from Bangladesh to Burma, Sumatra, and Borneo and is not parallel with the so-called Wallace line, which is the biogeographic boundary between the Asian and Australian indigenous faunas. That is also the case for Madagascar and India; although separated now, they preserved their original fauna or part of it in fossils, which is another indirect evidence for the possible existence of Lemuria.

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