February 10, 2014
A Request: Mauritius Geology
Posted by Evelyn Mervine
My husband and I have had quite a busy few months of work. We only took one day of leave over the recent December holiday, so we’ve decided that we need a short break before I start a new position at the beginning of April. So, we’ve booked a week’s vacation on the lovely island of Mauritius in late March. We’ll be traveling through Johannesburg on the way to visit some family and attend my sister-in-law’s university graduation ceremony.
I’m very excited about our upcoming trip to Mauritius. We plan to spend a significant amount of time relaxing on the beach, snorkelling, and kayaking. However, I also hope that we can explore some of the island’s geological wonders. I’m particularly interested in learning more about the Dodo bird, which lived on Mauritius before it became extinct. I’m also very interested in learning more about the island’s volcanic geology. Apparently there are some lava tubes on the island, among other interesting volcanic features.
Here’s my request: Can anyone help me learn more about Mauritius geology before my trip? Can anyone suggest any good papers to read about Dodo bird fossils or general Mauritian geology? Furthermore, does anyone know of any geologists (in Mauritius, maybe?) who might be able to provide advice on good places to see geology and/or fossil collections in Mauritius?
Any information that anyone can provide on Mauritius geology would be most appreciated. Many thanks in advance!
Via a friend:
“Dodos were extant during human history; there are remains, although very poorly preserved. Despite what Bill Bryson says, there is a single dodo egg in the East London museum (in South Africa).
They basically look like hugely overgrown fluffy pigeons.
I know some fishy/oceany people in Mauritius, but rocks, well, not so much. Sorry!
The sands in Chamarel are quite cool.
Should get ’em started”
Hope it helps some.
Posted a note to the “rockhounds” group. Someone over there will probably have an answer.
This report offers some insight into the geology of Mauritius.
Geologically, the islands are made up of volcanic rocks between 7.8 million (early Pliocene) and 0.2
million years of age (McDougall and Chamalaun 1969). The ‘old’ volcanics are mainly olivine basalts and
agglomerates with intrusive trachyte and trachyandesitic plugs. The ‘young’ volcanics are mainly olivine-
bearing flood basalts (Simpson 1950; McDougall and Chamalaun 1969)
I suspect that my comment got snaffled by the spam filter. There were a bunch of links in it.
Thanks for letting me know– I rescued the comment from the spam filter. Thanks for your help!
I’m a mauritian geo! For such a small island, it has some fascinating geology. From the mountain ranges- remant of the original caldera to the more recent lava flows along the beaches. I suggest you visit 7 coloured earth. A tourist attraction that people still do not understand, but I believe is just oxidation processes of tuffs and breccia remants. Also in the Southwest, there are some view points, and waterfalls which show a section of some of the basalts, with columnar basalts evident. But in general I would kick back and relax on the beach and watch modern geological processes. There are some papers, but unable to find online. There was a comprehensive study done by the french in 1998 for the groundwater resources-v important! And they remapped the island and regenerated a modern map, but impossible to find unless you go to the Water Resources Unit. The Institute in Port Louis also know as the Museum has a old but good map on display! Stop there first.