Piece of Canada is Stuck to Australia (Important)

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Researchers at Curtin University in Australia found that more than a billion years ago a part of present-day Canada broke away from the fledging North American continent and smashed into Australia. A chunk of this land is present day Georgetown, Australia.

Piece of Canada is Stuck to Australia

Evidence of Georgetown in Australia Being Part of Canada

  • The researchers at Curtin looked at new sediment data from Georgetown and the neighbouring regions.
  • Rock record did not match the rest of the Australian continent but matched areas of Canada thus proving that the two distinct landmasses collided.
  • Collision produced a relatively small mountain range in northern Australia.
  • Same types of landmass collisions created the Himalaya in India, but with much greater force, creating a larger range that is still growing taller today.

Significance of this Discovery

  • This new finding is a key step in understanding how Earth՚s first supercontinent Nuna may have formed.
  • The Earth՚s crust, which contains its land masses and the ocean floors, isn՚t static-it՚s made up of plates that shift, slide, and collide- this discovery provides more evidence to plate tectonics
  • Since the plates are always moving, the arrangement of continents and oceans has been in flux over the last several billion years.
  • This is the second major geological discovery coming out of Oceania in about a year

Background

  • The seven distinct continents known today are thought to have started off as one, giant landmass called Pangea nearly 300 million years ago.
  • The land mass broke apart as plates shifted, pulling pieces of the supercontinent in different directions.
  • In February2017, researchers based in New Zealand published findings which suggest the island country is really a massive underwater continent.
  • Plate tectonics became a mainstream field of study about fifty years ago.

What is Nuna?

  • Nuna is like the older sibling of supercontinents: it existed way before the more well-known land mass of Pangea, but it gets less attention.
  • Nuna, also known as Columbia, was smashing land masses together and reconfiguring the surface of the Earth some 1.5 billion years ago.
  • The theory of Pangea rests on fossil records that skip over modern day oceans, indicating that the ocean did not exist at the same time as these now-fossilized critters.
  • The fossil record becomes less detailed as we move back in history, making it harder to find proof of older supercontinents.

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