Old 07-13-2008, 05:20 PM Offline   #1 (permalink)



 
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Default Antarctica Once Abutted Death Valley

Science News has a story of strange bedfellows. It seems that Antarctica was once adjacent to what is now the American Southwest, some 800 million years ago. Earth's continents then formed a supercontinent called Rodinia, predating Pangaea by some 550 million years. "...the ratios of neodymium isotopes in the ancient sediments in the Transantarctic Mountains are the same as those in what was then Laurentia, says Goodge. Also, the hafnium isotope ratios in the 1.44-billion-year-old zircons found in East Antarctica match those of the zircons found in the distinctive granites now found primarily in North America. Finally, the researchers note, the ratios of various isotopes and elements in a basketball-sized chunk of granite found in East Antarctica — a chunk ripped by a glacier from bedrock now smothered by thick ice, the team speculates — match those of granite found only in what was southwestern Laurentia, which today is the American Southwest."
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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