May 9, 2013
Granite formed on dry land has been discovered beneath the ocean off the coast of Brazil. Scientists suggest that it might be part of a sunken continent which disappeared millions of years ago and already branded it ‘Brazilian Atlantis’.
A Japanese-manned submersible discovered a large mass of granite and a large amount of quartz sand 900 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, according to the announcement made by The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Geology Service of Brazil (CPRM).
These materials, normally found on dry land, suggest that a continent once existed in the region and then sank.
“It is unusual because it is granite rock,” CPRM geology director Roberto Ventura Santos as quoted by ‘The Telegraph’. “And you don’t find granite on the seabed. It is more usual to find it on the mainland.”
The granite was discovered in a seabed that was estimated to have disappeared under the ocean waters tens of millions of years ago.
“South America and Africa used to be a huge, unified continent. The area in question may have been left in water as the continent was separated in line with the movements of plates,” said Shinichi Kawakami, a professor at Gifu University, Japan Times reports.
The material was reportedly found more than 8,000 feet beneath the sea in a region known as the Rio Grande Elevation.
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“This is the region that has been least explored worldwide,” added Kawakami. “So, we believe it is very important to research it.”
“From an analysis, we began to see that the area could be a piece of the continent that disappeared into the sea millions of years ago,” Santos said as quoted by AFP.
“This could be Brazil’s Atlantis. We are almost certain, but we need to strengthen this hypothesis.”
The fabled island was first mentioned by Greek philosopher Plato in his dialogues ‘Timaeus’ and ‘Critias’, written about 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was situated in front of the Pillars of Hercules, the phrase that was applied in Antiquity to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. The civilization of Atlantis conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa approximately 9600 BC. But the continent is believed to have sunk during a catastrophic natural disaster.
Scientists plan to drill for more samples later this year, as further conformation is needed. Experts still remain cautious about jumping to conclusions.
“We speak of Atlantis more in terms of symbolism,” Santos noted. “Obviously, we don’t expect to find a lost city in the middle of the Atlantic.”
Though the researchers are still hopeful that the discovery may clarify many questions.
“If it is the case that we find a continent in the middle of the ocean, it will be a very big discovery that could have various implications in relation to the extension of the continental shelf,” Santos said.