SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Scientists have discovered what they're calling the Brazilian "Atlantis," a continent that disappeared off the coast of Rio after Africa and South America separated.
"This could be Brazil's Atlantis," said Geology Service of Brazil (CPRM) geology director Roberto Ventura Santos. "We are almost certain, but we need to strengthen this hypothesis."
Working together, CPRM experts and Japanese scientists have found what they believe is evidence of the sunken continent about 900 miles off the coast of Rio.
Granite, a rock that is formed only on dry land, was discovered by geologists last year during a search 8,000 feet under the sea in a region known as the Rio Grande Elevation. Japan's £84 million Shinkai 6500 mini-sub then found more granite formations in the area last month.
"It is unusual because it is granite rock," Santos said. "And you don't find granite on the seabed. It is more usual to find it on the mainland."
While scientists currently think the granite is continental crust, the finding is yet to be confirmed. Their plan is to drill for more samples of the rock later this year.
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"We speak of Atlantis more in terms of symbolism," said Santos. "Obviously, we don't expect to find a lost city in the middle of the Atlantic.
"But 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."