Scientists have discovered a fragment of an ancient continent on the island of Baffin in northern Canada.
When analyzing samples of diamond exploration from the island of Baffin, Canada, scientists identified a mineral signature that they never expected to find, advances the site Science Alert.
This island, located near Greenland, has an area of more than 500 thousand square meters, making it the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest in the world.
“Chimberlites are underground rockets that collect passengers en route to the surface. Passengers are solid pieces of rock on the walls that carry a wealth of details in conditions far below the surface of our planet over time, ”explains geologist Maya Kopylova, from the University of British Columbia.
In this case, these rocks had a mineral signature that coincided with other parts of the North Atlantic Craton (NAC), an ancient part of the Earth's continental crust.
“The mineral composition of other parts of the North Atlantic Craton is so unique that there was no doubt. It was easy to put the pieces together. The adjacent ancient cratons in northern Canada have completely different mineralogies ”, explains Kopylova, lead author of the study published in January in the scientific journal Journal of Petrology.
The continental plate of the NAC was divided into fragments 150 million years ago and currently extends from northern Scotland, Greenland and the Canadian province of Labrador. The newly identified fragment adds approximately 10% to the known extent of the North Atlantic Craton.
“With these samples, we can reconstruct the shapes of the ancient continents based on deeper rocks in the mantle. Now we can understand and map not only the thinnest layer on Earth, which represents 1% of the planet's volume, but our knowledge is literally and symbolically deeper ”, concludes Kopylova.