Earth’s history is still being written. We know that 335 million years ago the supercontinent Pangea emerged. 160 million years later, that platform began to break into pieces due to plate tectonics. This is how it became what our continents are today. On these first broken pieces, called craton, sediment accumulated, as occurs, for example, with the foam layer when a soup is boiled. Some smaller pieces have “drifted” for millions of years. And now one of these “lost” pieces has been discovered on the island of Baffin (Canada). A hidden continent comes to light.
It is published by geologists from the University of British Columbia (Canada). It can be read in the Journal of Petrology. It would be a piece of the North Atlantic craton. It is a protocontinent that extended from the north of Scotland, to Labrador, the easternmost province of Canada. But how did that place get there?
Kimberlite, the first clue
“With these samples we can reconstruct the shapes of the ancient continents based on deeper mantle rocks,” explains Maya Kopylova. She is the main author of the research. You can read it in his statement. What happened? Well, the team happened upon a rare sample of kimberlite. It is a rock that is formed at depths between 150 and 400 kilometers. Sometimes it often “transports” diamonds from the Earth’s interior to the exterior. This sample coincided with the North Atlantic craton. “For investigators, kimberlites are like underground rockets that ‘pick up passengers’ on their way to the surface,” continues Kopylova. “The passengers are remains of rocks on the wall. They contain a lot of detail about the conditions in great depth and from a long time ago. ”
Close to canada
Where was the find made? Specifically in samples collected at a diamond mine in De Beers province, in the south of Baffin Island. “The mineral composition of other parts of the North Atlantic craton is so unique that it cannot be confused,” says the geologist. “It was easy to put the pieces together. The adjacent ancient cratons in northern Canada have completely different mineralogies. ” That is, this part was different from the closest areas. It could only be compared to that of the North Atlantic craton.
This effectively made it a missing piece of the puzzle of this protocontinent: a hidden continent comes to light with this discovery.
“Finding these ‘missing’ pieces is like finding a missing piece of a puzzle. And the scientific puzzle of ancient Earth cannot be complete without all its pieces, “says Kopylova. This new piece points out that the North Atlantic craton was 10% larger than previously thought. Who knows what other mysteries await before the “simple” rocks that enclose the bowels of our old Earth.