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Mauritius: Fire & Earth

Mauritius: Fire & Earth


How Mauritius Formed

Isolated from other land masses, you have to wonder how Mauritius exists. Unlike continental islands, like nearby Madagascar or Long Island in the United States, oceanic islands form as a result of volcanic activity. Mauritius popped up in the Indian after a series of volcanic eruptions along what is known as the Reunion Hotspot.

Volcanic hotspots are abnormally hot regions within the Earth’s mantle and can occur on, near, or even far from, the boundaries of the tectonic plates. With the gradual shift of these plates along the Earth’s surface, magma periodically erupts through the ocean floor, creating active volcanos.

Over time, land masses form and rise above the water. The chain of islands left behind reflects the direction the tectonic plates have moved over millions of years.

Mauritius formed between seven to ten million years ago, followed by Rodrigues island and Réunion, which took shape within the last 2 million years. While Mauritius hasn’t had an active volcano in more than 100,000 years, Réunion is home to Piton de la Fournaise, one of the world’s most active volcanos.

Zoe

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