Once upon a very long time ago, Australia may not have been very far from North America, geological evidence shows.
Rocks recently found in Australia showed striking similarities to those in North America, researchers state. The unearthed sandstone sedimentary rocks are not “native” to present-day Australia, but are more commonly found in eastern Canada, USA Today reports.
The sandstone rocks were found in Georgetown, Queensland, Australia in the northeastern region. Due to this, scientists believe that one area of what is now Australia was once a part of North America, but broke apart some 1.7 billion years ago. After drifting on the oceans for 100 million years, the island eventually crashed and attached to modern-day Australia, forming the so-called supercontinent Nuna, also called Columbia.
According to science, when Nuna broke apart around 300 million years after that, the chunk of land from North America stayed attached to the continent and became a permanent part of Australia.
Adam Nordsvan of Curtin University School of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Perth, Australia, study author, said, “Our research shows that about 1.7 billion years ago, Georgetown rocks were deposited into a shallow sea when the region was part of North America. Georgetown then broke away from North America and collided with the Mount Isa region of northern Australia around 100 million years later.”
This was a critical part of global continental reorganization when almost all continents on Earth assembled to form the supercontinent called Nuna,
Nordsvan added. “This new finding is a key step in understanding how Earth’s first supercontinent Nuna may have formed.”
John Curtin and Zheng-Xiang Li, co-authors on the study and also from Curtin University, said that this research also showed evidence of mountains that were created in the Georgetown region and Mt. Isa at the time.
Nuna was one of many supercontinents that existed on Earth before the most recent Pangea.
The study was published in the journal Geology.