'Lost continent' found in Indian Ocean buried under lava
This dating method was supplemented by a recalculation of plate tectonics, which explains exactly how and where the fragments ended up in the Indian Ocean.
Dr Bernhard Steinberger of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and Dr Pavel Doubrovine of Oslo University calculated the hotspot trail.
"On the one hand, it shows the position of the plates relative to the two hotspots at the time of the rupture, which points towards a causal relation," said Steinberger.
"On the other hand, we were able to show that the continent fragments continued to wander almost exactly over the Reunion plume, which explains how they were covered by volcanic rock," Steinberger said in a statement.
What was previously interpreted only as the trail of the Reunion hotspot, are continental fragments which were previously not recognised as such because they were covered by the volcanic rocks of the Reunion plume.
Researchers said it therefore appears that such micro-continents in the ocean occur more frequently than previously thought.