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Encyclopedia > Mascarene Islands
Mauritius (right) and Réunion (left)
Mauritius (right) and Réunion (left)

The Mascarene Islands (or Mascarenhas Archipelago) is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, which includes Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, and Cargados Carajos shoals. The collective title is derived from the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, who first visited them in 1512. The islands share a common geologic origin, and form a distinct ecoregion with a unique flora and fauna. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2000x1500, 288 KB) Description: On January 16, 2002, lava that had begun flowing on January 5 from the Piton de la Fournaise volcano on the French island of Réunion abruptly decreased, marking the end of the volcano’s most recent... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2000x1500, 288 KB) Description: On January 16, 2002, lava that had begun flowing on January 5 from the Piton de la Fournaise volcano on the French island of Réunion abruptly decreased, marking the end of the volcano’s most recent... Map of Rodrigues Rodrigues (or Rodriguez) is one of the Mascarene Islands and a dependency of Mauritius. ... Map of the Cargados Carajos Islands Cargados Carajos Shoals (also known as the Saint Brandon Rocks) are a group of about 16 small islands and islets on an extended reef in the Indian Ocean northeast of Mauritius. ... Pedro Mascarenhas (1470- June 23, 1555) was a Portuguese explorer and colonial administrator. ... Events April 11 - Battle of Ravenna. ... An ecoregion is a relatively large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities. ...

Contents


Geology

The Mascarene Islands are volcanic in origin, and were created as the African plate drifted over the Réunion hotspot. Mauritius is the oldest of the existing islands, and was created 8-10 million years ago (MYA), along with Rodrigues ridge, and undersea ridge. The islands of Rodrigues and Réunion were created in the last two million years. Réunion is the largest of the islands (2,500 km²), followed by Mauritius (1,900 km²) and Rodrigues (110 km²). Réunion is home to the highest peaks in the Mascarenes, the shield volcanoes Piton des Neiges (3,069 m) and Piton de la Fournaise (2,525 m). Piton de la Fournaise, on the southeastern corner of Réunion, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, erupting last on August 13, 2004. Piton de la Rivière Noire (828 m) is the highest peak on Mauritius, and the gentle hills of Rodrigues rise to only 390 m. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1024x768, 204 KB) Summary Piton de la Fournaise volcano as seen from Oratoire Sainte Thérèse Photo: B.navez - 01 SEP 2005 - Réunion island Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Mascarene Islands Metadata This file... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1024x768, 204 KB) Summary Piton de la Fournaise volcano as seen from Oratoire Sainte Thérèse Photo: B.navez - 01 SEP 2005 - Réunion island Licensing File links The following pages link to this file: Mascarene Islands Metadata This file... The erupting lava met the water of the Indian Ocean during the August 2004 eruption. ... This article is about volcanoes in geology. ... The African Plate is a continental tectonic plate covering the continent of Africa and extending westward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. ... The Réunion hotspot is a volcanic hotspot which presently lies under the Island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. ... Mauna Kea, a shield volcano, on the Island of Hawai‘i with a light dusting of snow. ... Piton des Neiges (Snow Peak) is a 3069m high inactive volcano on the island of Réunion, one of the volcanic islands in the Mascarene Archipelago in the southwestern Indian Ocean. ... The erupting lava met the water of the Indian Ocean during the August 2004 eruption. ... August 13 is the 225th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (226th in leap years), with 140 days remaining. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Mascarene Plateau is an undersea plateau that extends approximately 2000 km, from the Seychelles to Réunion. The plateau covers an area of over 115,000 km² of shallow water, with depths ranging from 8 to 150 meters, plunging to 4000 m to the abyssal plain at its edges. The Mascarene Plateau is an undersea plateau in the Indian Ocean, north and east of Madagascar. ... Abyssal plains are flat or very gently sloping areas of the ocean basin floor where rocks gradually sink into the ground because they have no supporting heat energy below them; the worlds flattest and smoothest regions are caused by this effect. ...


The northern part of the plateau, including the Seychelles, is formed of granite, and is a fragment of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. the southern part of the plateau, including the Saya de Malha Bank, Nazareth Bank, and Cargados Carajos Shoals (Saint Brandon), were formed by the Reunion hotspot. These 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 after that. Limestone banks found on the plateau are the remnants of coral reefs, indicating that the plateau was 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. Quarrying granite for the Mormon Temple, Utah Territory. ... [HELP! Needs re-writing. ... The Saya de Malha Bank (also Sahia de Malha Bank) is a large undersea bank in the Indian Ocean, part of the vast undersea Mascarene Plateau. ... Map of the Cargados Carajos Islands Cargados Carajos Shoals (also known as the Saint Brandon Rocks) are a group of about 16 small islands and islets on an extended reef in the Indian Ocean northeast of Mauritius. ... Limey shale overlaid by limestone. ... Some of the biodiversity of a coral reef. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ...


Mascarene forests

The Mascarene islands form a distinct ecoregion, known as the Mascarene forests. The islands were formerly covered in tropical moist broadleaf forest, and harbored a diverse range of forest types. Near the seacoast were coastal wetlands and swamp forests, transitioning to rain forest to windward and lowland dry forest to leeward, palm savannas, montane deciduous forests, and montane heathlands on the highest peaks of Réunion. An ecoregion is a relatively large area of land or water that contains a geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities. ... Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, also known as tropical rain forests, are a tropical and subtropical biome. ... A subtropical wetland in Florida, USA, with an endangered American Crocodile. ... Savanna is a grassland dotted with trees, and occurs in several types of biomes. ...


The islands are home to many endemic plants and animals. Most of the Mascarene flora and fauna is thought to be derived originally from Madagascar and Africa. The islands were never connected to the mainland, so the flora and fauna of the Mascarenes arrived from over the sea. Prehistoric islands of the Mascarene Plateau, now disappeared under the sea, may have served as 'stepping stones' which allowed species to island-hop from the Seychelles or Madagascar. The Mascarenes are home to one endemic family of flowering plants, Psiloxylaceae, which has only one species, Psiloxylon mauritanum. In biology and ecology endemic means exclusively native to a place or biota, in contrast to cosmopolitan or one of various ways of being not native (e. ... // Etymology World map showing Africa (geographically) The name Africa came into Western use through the Romans, who used the name Africa terra — land of the Afri (plural, or Afer singular) — for the northern part of the continent, as the province of Africa with its capital Carthage, corresponding to modern-day... Classes Magnoliopsida - Dicots Liliopsida - Monocots The flowering plants (also called angiosperms) are a major group of land plants. ... species Psilioxylon mauritanum is species of white-barked flowering evergreen trees, bearing essential oils, the sole species of family Psiloxylaceae. ... species Psilioxylon mauritanum is species of white-barked flowering evergreen trees, bearing essential oils, the sole species of family Psiloxylaceae. ...


The islands have no native mammals, except for bats. Many of the Mascarene birds evolved into flightless forms; the most famous of which was the Dodo, an extinct flightless pigeon of Mauritius. 16 endemic bird species survive on the islands. Mauritius, Réunion, and Rodrigues were also each home to one or more species of giant tortoise (Geochelone spp.). There are 13 living endemic reptile species, including a number of species of day geckoes (genus Phelsuma). Orders Subclass Multituberculata (extinct) Plagiaulacida Cimolodonta Subclass Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Subclass Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Eutheria (includes extinct ancestors)/Placentalia (excludes extinct ancestors) Afrosoricida Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Cimolesta (extinct) Creodonta (extinct) Condylarthra (extinct) Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Embrithopoda (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Litopterna (extinct) Macroscelidea Mesonychia (extinct) Notoungulata (extinct) Perissodactyla Pholidota Plesiadapiformes... Families Antrozoidae Craseonycteridae Emballonuridae Furipteridae Megadermatidae Molossidae Mormoopidae Mystacinidae Myzopodidae Natalidae Noctilionidae Nycteridae Phyllostomidae Pteropodidae Rhinolophidae Rhinopomatidae Thyropteridae Vespertilionidae Bats are flying mammals in the Chiroptera order with forelimbs developed as wings. ... Binomial name Raphus cucullatus (Linnaeus, 1758) The Mauritius Dodo (Raphus cucullatus, called Didus ineptus by Linnaeus), more commonly just Dodo, was a metre-high flightless bird of the island of Mauritius. ... In biology and ecology, extinction is the ceasing of existence of a species or group of species. ... Pigeon redirects here. ... Genera Chersina Dipsochelys Furculachelys Geochelone Gopherus Homopus Indotestudo Kinixys Malacochersus Manouria Psammobates Pyxis Testudo Tortoise is the name given to land-dwelling reptiles most of whose body is shielded by a special shell. ... Geckos are small to moderately large lizards belonging to the family Gekkonidae and found in warm climates throughout the world. ... In biology, a genus (plural genera) is a grouping in the classification of living organisms having one or more related and morphologically similar species. ... Species 43 species; see text. ...


Many of the native Mascarenes flora and fauna has become endangered or extinct since the human settlement of the islands in the 17th century. Settlers cleared most of the forests for agriculture and grazing, and introduced many exotic species, including pigs, rats, cats, monkeys, and mongooses. Fourteen bird species became extinct; in addition to the Dodo, some of the other extinct species are the Rodrigues Solitaire, a flightless pigeon related to the Dodo, and the Réunion Flightless Ibis. The giant tortoises are also extinct. (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... Species Sus barbatus Sus bucculentus Sus cebifrons Sus celebensis Sus domesticus Sus heureni Sus philippensis Sus salvanius Sus scrofa Sus timoriensis Sus verrucosus Pigs are ungulates native to Eurasia collectively grouped under the genus Sus within the Suidae family. ... Species 50 species; see text *Several subfamilies of Muroids include animals called rats. ... Trinomial name Felis silvestris catus (Linnaeus, 1758) This article is about the domestic cat. ... Cynomolgus Monkey at Batu Caves, Malaysia Monkeys, Mori Sosen (1749-1821) A monkey is any member of two of the three groupings of simian primates. ... Subfamiles Herpestinae Galidiinae A mongoose is any member of the Herpestidae family of small, cat-like carnivores. ... Binomial name Pezophaps solitaria (Gmelin, 1789) The Rodrigues Solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria) was a flightless member of the pigeon family endemic to Rodrigues, Mauritius. ... Binomial name Threskiornis solitarius The Réunion Sacred Ibis or Réunion Flightless Ibis (see below), Threskiornis solitarius, is an extinct bird species that was native to the island of Réunion. ...


The Tambalacoque (Sideroxylon grandiflorum), often called the dodo tree, is also threatened with extinction. It depended on the Dodo for reproduction, as its seeds can only germinate after passing through the digestive tract of a Dodo, which removes the seeds' thick outer coating. Scientists are using turkeys to process the seeds in an effort to save the tree. Binomial name Sideroxylon grandiflorum A.DC. Tambalacoque (also called the dodo tree) Sideroxylon grandiflorum formerly Calvaria major, is a long-lived tree in the family Sapotaceae, endemic to Mauritius. ...

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Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ...

Reference

  • Quammen, David, (1996) The Song of the Dodo. Touchstone, New York.
  • Diamond, Jared, (1984) "Historic extinctions: A rosetta stone for understanding prehistoric extinctions". In: P. Martin and R. Klein (eds.) (1984) Quaternary Extinctions: A prehistoric revolution. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

1996 (MCMXCVI) is a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... The city is at the center of international finance, politics, entertainment, and culture, and is one of the worlds major global cities (along with London, Tokyo and Paris) with a virtually unrivaled collection of museums, galleries, performance venues, media outlets, international corporations, and stock exchanges. ... Jared Mason Diamond (born September 10, 1937) is an American author, evolutionary biologist, physiologist, and biogeographer. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) is a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A city street near downtown Tucson, Arizona. ...

External link


  Results from FactBites:
 
Fauna of Mauritius (235 words)
The absence of man, the isolation of the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion over millions of years have enabled a remarkable fauna and flora to evolve there, undisturbed.
This is often the case in remote and isolated islands.
The arrival of man and the ensuing colonisation have had tremendous impacts on the native wildlife, most of it being driven into extinction or on the edge of it.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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