BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Geologists at Curtin University have found that a part of what is now Canada collided with Australia about 1.7 billion years ago. This likely happened after its breaking away from the rest of North America.
A study paper, which was published in the journal Geology, helped provide more evidence about the formation of a supercontinent known as Nuna.
More Evidence For the Existence of Supercontinent Nuna
The scientific theory of plate tectonics includes continental drift or the movement of the continents over geological time. Various landmasses gradually reorganize themselves into different combinations.
A supercontinent, like Nuna or the better-known and more geologically recent Pangaea, is the result of practically all of the landmasses forming a single gigantic continent.
The geologists behind this new study examined rocks found in two areas in Queensland: Georgetown and Mount Isa. While the Mount Isa rocks were typical Australian ones, the Georgetown rocks differed greatly. These presented traits were more commonly seen in rocks found in Canada.
This seems to indicate that the rocks had originated in a part of North America that had broken away from the rest of the continent and smashed into Australia.
According to the study’s lead author, Adam Nordsvan, the rocks had been at the bottom of a shallow sea when Georgetown was part of North America.
Around 1.7 billion years ago, Georgetown detached from the rest of North America and collided with northern Australia 100 million years later. After Nuna began breaking up 300 million years later, the Georgetown rocks remained where they were.
The study also enabled the researchers to learn more about the development of the mountains in the region. This collision most likely led to their formation as well. Unlike the Himalayas, which were also produced by the collision of two landmasses, the Australian mountains are comparatively small.
Scientists are looking to continue their research on the formation of supercontinents.
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