Canadian scientists discover ancient continent was larger than we thought

Diamond samples in Canada reveal size of lost continent

Diamond samples in Canada reveal size of lost continent

Diamond-encrusted rock samples discovered on a Canadian island come from an ancient continent that was probably 10% larger than has always been thought, geologists say. The continental plate of the North Atlantic craton rifted into tatters 150 million years ago.

"The mineral composition of other portions of the North Atlantic craton is so unique there was no mistaking it", Maya Kopylova, a geologist from the University of British Columbia, Canada, and lead author of the study, said in a statement.

"We interpret this similarity as indicating the former structural coherence of the cratonic lithosphere of the Hall Peninsula Block and the NAC craton prior to subsequent rifting into separate continental fragments".

'It was easy to tie the pieces together. They knew about this only after they were analyzing some rock samples that they had dug up during their exploration work on diamonds.

An opportunity discovery by geologists deliberating over diamond inspection specimens has caused a prominent scientific culmination.

To reach their findings, the team used a number of analytical techniques - including petrography, mineralogy, and thermobarometry - to study 120 rock samples, called xenoliths, taken from the kimberlite province. They studied the kimberlite rocks that have appeared millions of years ago at approximately 140 to 400 kilometers underneath the ground.

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"Finding these "lost" pieces is like finding a missing piece of a puzzle", Ms Kopylova is estimated as claiming in a short article released by the University of British Columbia's internet site. Those so-called "passengers" represent a solid bunch of wall rocks. Previous reconstructions of the Earth's plates had been based on shallow rock samples formed at depths of one to 10km (six miles).

"With these samples we're able to reconstruct the shapes of ancient continents based on deeper, mantle rocks", Kopylova said. "Our knowledge is literally and symbolically deeper", she said.

These samples from the Chiliak Kimberlite Province were provided by Peregrine Diamonds that was acquired by De Beers in 2018 which is an worldwide diamond exploration company.

'In turn, UBC research provides the company with information about the deep diamondiferous mantle that is central to mapping the part of the craton with the higher changes to support a successful diamond mine'.

The findings have been detailed in the Journal of Petrology.

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