Hidden beneath the brilliant blue waters of the Indian Ocean lies a secret, scientists say: an entire micro-continent that detached itself some 60 million years ago.
And they found it through a few handfuls of sand.
The islands Reunion and Mauritius, both well-known tourist destinations off the south-eastern coast of Africa, are hiding the micro-continent, a fragment known as Mauritia that detached while Madagascar and India drifted apart during the Precambrian era, scientists said.
It had been hidden under huge masses of lava. A group of geoscientists from Norway, South Africa, Britain and Germany published a study that suggests, based on the study of lava sand grains from the beach of Mauritius, the existence of further fragments.