May 8 - A team of Japanese and Brazilian scientists say they may have discovered part of the earth's original continent off the coast of Brazil before the land masses drifted apart. Jessica Gray reports.
The Rio Grande Elevation, off the coast of Brazil. On Tuesday, researchers announced the area might be home to parts of the original continent called Pangaea that existed before the Americas, Africa, Europe and other major land masses drifted apart. The joint team made up of Japanese and Brazilian scientists say they discovered what they believe to be granite along the ocean floor here, a rock usually only found on land. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) THE DIRECTOR OF GEOLOGY AND MINERAL RESOURCES AT THE BRAZILIAN GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, DOCTOR ROBERTO VENTURA, SAYING: "When these samples came aboard the ship, the first surprise was, 'what are these rocks doing here?' We did petrographic, geochemical (and) geological studies of this material." Researchers also found iron, manganese and cobalt, minerals that differentiate the area from the surrounding seabed. Scientists hypothesize that the underwater landmass may have comprised an island at one time before sinking. The find was confirmed using this submarine that boasts just enough room to fit three people during dives as deep as 6,500 meters below the ocean's surface.