Canada and Australia were once connected, study suggests
A diagram shows how Canada and a little piece of Australia may have once been connected. A new report suggests that the discovery of distinct sedimentary rocks in Georgetown, Australia proves the ancient geological link. (Source: Curtin University)
Published Wednesday, January 24, 2018 3:37PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 24, 2018 4:08PM EST
But, geologically speaking, the countries may be more connected than scientists ever imagined.
New research from Australia’s Curtin University reveals that, about 1.7 billion years ago, part of northern Australia may have once been part of Canada.
The study, published in the journal Geology, found that rocks in Georgetown, Australia bear a striking resemblance to rocks found in modern-day Canada, and the rocks are not found anywhere else in Australia.
Adam Nordsvan, the PhD student behind the research, said the report reveals a previously unknown story behind Nuna, an ancient supercontinent that once included Greenland, India, North China and part of West Africa.
Researchers say a chunk of northern Australia was once physically connected to part of northwestern Canada. The proof, researchers say, is that the distinct sedimentary rocks that both regions share.
The two pieces of land eventually separated, and after about 100 million years, the small piece of Aussie land collided with part of northern Australia, becoming a permanent part of the continent.
Mike Hamilton, an assistant professor in the Earth Sciences department at the University of Toronto, called the report “rigorous” and “very good proof” that the two countries share a geological past.
“There is a very good, well-established record the North American sources of these sedimentary rocks and a very distinct lack of these sources in northern Australia,” Hamilton told CTV News Channel on Wednesday.
“I think that they have pretty much dotted all their I’s and crossed their T’s in this investigation.”
Hamilton pointed out that the theory has been floated before, but that the new research is strong evidence of the ancient link.