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Researchers find possible traces of continent off coast of Brazil

A Geological Service of Brazi member standing next to rocks digged out from the deep-sea during dredging works, 1,500 km from the shore of Rio de Janeiro. According to the CPRM director, Roberto Ventura Santos, the rocks would be part of the former continent submerged when the Atlantic Ocean rose up from the separation of now Africa and South America.AFP Photo/CPRM/HO

A research team says they have found an area off the coast of Brazil that may have contained parts of the original continent Pangaea, which existed before the Americas, Africa and other land masses drifted apart.

"When these samples came aboard the ship, the first surprise was, 'what are these rocks doing here?'” said Dr. Roberto Ventura, the director of geology and mineral resources at the Brazilian Geological Survey. “We did petrographic, geochemical (and) geological studies of this material."

A team of Brazilian and Japanese researchers made the discoveries during a month-long expedition above the Rio Grande Elevation, which is a rise on the ocean floor around 930 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Reuters reports.

Using a three-person submarine making dives as deep as 21, 000 feet, the team found granite and minerals like iron and cobalt.

The materials found differ from the rest of the surrounding seabed, leading researchers to hypothesize that the area was once an island.

Click for more from Reuters.