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Say the lost continent of Lemuria was real, and was home to an ancient sophisticated civilization that like the Atlanteans, dabbled in high technologies and forbidden magicks. Due to their fatal curiosity, the continent experienced a cataclysm that caused most of the continent to sink apart from three continental fragment islands.

Realistically, how could the native people survive a cataclysm strong enough to sink most of their continent into an ocean? Is there any way? I also imagine modern explorers finding the lost three islands, and finding them absolutely littered with ruins of the Lemurian civilization? Is it feasible that stonework architecture would have survived the cataclysm too?

I prefer realistic answers, but supernatural answers are welcome if there are no other explanations.

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    $\begingroup$ There is no such thing as "a cataclysm strong enough to sink most of their continent into an ocean". The question is asking about surviving an event which cannot happen. (Note that a large land mass can become submerged; that's not in question. But it cannot become submerged suddenly in a cataclismic sinking.) (And yes, there was once upon a time a large landmass south-east of southeastern Asia, which is now submerged, only the islands of Borneo, Java, and Sumatra remaining above water. But it did not sink: it was the ocean which rose.) $\endgroup$ – AlexP Nov 21 '20 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ In addition: (1) the title asks about splitting, the body asks about sinking. (2) Magic can do anything. If the "cataclysm" was magic in nature, then survival can also be magic. (3) How many questions is this question asking? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Nov 21 '20 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP -- The fictional world under consideration is obviously the kind of world where "a cataclysm strong enough to sink most of their continent into an ocean" is a given. It's our job not to complain that it can't be done, but rather to consider how to get it done! $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Nov 21 '20 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, Kalvin! I think you've got the makings of a good question here. I think your question is in serious jeopardy of being closed: it lacks focus. Asking a question like "how can a civilisation survive X" is like asking thousands of more specific questions (like "how can a culture's religion survive..." or "how can a culture's government survive...") Stack Exchange in general likes narrowly focused questions like that, which will necessitate you to edit your question a bit. Check out the tour and help center for more on asking questions! Also, you might want to... $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Nov 21 '20 at 21:27
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    $\begingroup$ Well, Africa is splitting right now. This cataclysm seems to have gone unnoticed by the inhabitants, except for a few geologists. $\endgroup$ – A. I. Breveleri Nov 21 '20 at 23:00
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Most of their lands were below sea level.

holland and land reclamation

https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/dutch-masters-netherlands-exports-flood-control-expertise

The Lemurians put the Dutch to shame as regards claiming lands out of the sea. Earthworks, dikes and other flood control measures characterized their tech. Even the land which had been dry to begin with was only a little bit over sea level.

The cataclysm was a preternaturally huge tidal wave, perhaps from something like a fracking mishap or subsea weapons test. Dikes and flood control measures broke and the sea rushed back in. The wave also took much of the low-lying remainder of the country, leaving a marshy fen behind.

Persons and buildings on the highlands were spared. These people carried on.

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