Mascarene Plateau

Mascarene Plateau

The Mascarene Plateau is an submarine plateau in the Indian Ocean, north and east of Madagascar. The plateau extends approximately 2000 km, from the Seychelles in the north to Réunion in the south. The plateau covers an area of over 115,000 km² of shallow water, with depths ranging from 8 – 150 meters, plunging to 4000 meters to the abyssal plain at its edges. It is the largest undersea plateau in the Indian Ocean.[1]


The northern part of the Mascarene plateau includes the Seychelles and Agalega Islands. The southern part of the Mascarene plateau includes the Mascarene Islands, Saya de Malha Bank, Nazareth Bank, Soudan Banks, and Hawkins Bank. The Mascarene Islands are the mountainous islands of Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, and the Cargados Carajos Shoals.


The Indian subcontinent was at one time next to the east coast of the Seychelles, but seafloor spreading has moved the landmass to its current position, where it has collided and fused with the continent of Asia.

The northern part of the Mascarene plateau is formed of granite, and is a fragment of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. The granite is topped with deposits of limestone and basalt. The basalt deposits in the Seychelles are from the Deccan Traps eruption, which occurred in the central part of the Indian subcontinent 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period.

The southern part of the Mascarene plateau, also known as Southern Mascarene plateau (SMP), was formed by the Réunion volcanic hotspot along with the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge.[2] The banks and shoals of the southern part of the Mascarene plateau were once volcanic islands, much like Mauritius and Réunion, which have now sunk or eroded to below sea level or, in the case of the Cargados Carajos, to low coral islands. The Saya de Malha Bank formed 35 million years ago, and the Nazareth Bank and the Cargados Carajos shoals formed later. Limestone banks found on the plateau are the remnants of coral reefs, indicating that the plateau was once a succession of islands. Some of the banks may have been islands as recently as 18,000 – 6,000 years ago, when sea levels were up to 130 meters lower during the most recent ice age. Mauritius formed 8 – 10 million years ago, and Rodrigues and Réunion formed around two million years ago. Piton de la Fournaise volcano on Réunion is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mascarene Islands — Native name: Mascareignes Topographic map of Mascarene Islands …   Wikipedia

  • Mascarene Islands — [mas΄kə rēn′] group of islands in the W Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, including Mauritius & Réunion * * * ▪ islands, Indian Ocean French  Îles Mascareignes        collectively, the islands of Réunion, Mauritius, and Rodrigues (Rodrigues… …   Universalium

  • Oceanic plateau — An oceanic plateau (also submarine plateau) is a large, relatively flat submarine region that rises well above the level of the ambient seabed.[1] While many oceanic plateaus are composed of continental crust, and often form a step interrupting… …   Wikipedia

  • Ozeanisches Plateau — Direkt angrenzend an Neuseeland (Bildmitte) das Campbell Plateau (unten) und das dreieckige Challenger Plateau (oben), Teile von Zealandia Ein Ozeanisches Plateau (auch Ozeanplateau, Submarines Plateau oder Untermeerisches Plateau) ist ein… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Seychelles-Mauritius Plateau — ▪ submarine plateau, Indian Ocean also called  Mascarene Plateau         submarine plateau, made up of a very shallow, extensive ridge in the Indian Ocean that forms a crescent through the Seychelles and Amirante islands. The ridge extends from… …   Universalium

  • Rodrigues Starling — Conservation status Extinct (IUCN 3.1) Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • Nazareth Bank — …   Wikipedia

  • Continental fragment — Continental crustal fragments, partially synonymous with microcontinents, are fragments of continents thought to have been broken off from the main continental mass forming distinct islands, possibly several hundred kilometers from their place of …   Wikipedia

  • Сейшельские острова (внутренние) — Собственно Сейшельские острова  группа островов в Индийском океане, входящая в состав Республики Сейшельские Острова (куда кроме того входят ещё несколько групп островов, объединяемых под названием Внешние острова). Соответственно эта группа …   Википедия

  • Rodrigues (island) — Infobox Country native name = Rodrigues Zil Rodrigues conventional long name = Rodrigues Island Region common name = Rodrigues national motto = national anthem = Motherland (Republic of Mauritius Anthem) official languages = English (official… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”