Groundbreaking research changing geological map of Canada

Jul 25, 2007

Researchers exploring a remote terrain in Arctic Canada have made discoveries that may rock the world of Canadian geology.

Geologists from the University of Alberta have found that portions of Canada collided a minimum of 500 million years earlier than previously thought. Their research, published in the American journal Geology, is offering new insight into how the different continental fragments of North America assembled billions of years ago.

Lead researcher Michael Schultz, a graduate student at the U of A, took advantage of a rare opportunity to explore the Queen Maud block of Arctic Canada, a large bedrock terrain that is said to occupy a keystone tectonic position in northern Canada.

Because of its remote location, the Queen Maud block has remained understudied - until now. "In terms of trying to figure out how Canada formed, this block held a lot of secrets," said Schultz.

The U of A team reached the rugged Northern Canadian location in helicopters and discovered - through field work and lab analysis - that the sedimentary basins within the terrain, and the age and timing of high-temperature metamorphism of the rocks found there, challenged previous models.

"Every time we did an analysis, it gave us a new piece of information that was nothing we were expecting, based on what was known in the geological community," said Schultz.

Schultz credits cutting-edge technology only recently developed in the department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the U of A with the ability to acquire large amounts of data from rocks of the Queen Maud block in record time. The technique, known as in-situ laser ablation, substantially reduces the preparation time for geochronology, the process of dating rocks and minerals.

As the Canadian Arctic starts to gain attention nationally and globally, Schultz believes the time is right to push for more geological exploration in the region.

"All this newly discovered geological information means that large portions of Northern Canada are still very poorly understood, and in fact may contain rocks that nobody knows about. This has many implications, both academically and for mineral resources," said Schultz. "Given the remote nature of these areas, investigation has to be initiated and funded by federal, provincial or territorial governments, in cooperation with universities for facilities and additional expertise."

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: NASA provides double vision on Typhoon Matmo

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kingston, Jamaica hybrid project to harness sun and wind

8 hours ago

A hybrid energy project in Kingston, Jamaica, aims to satisfy the need for money-saving renewable energy. U.S.-based WindStream Technologies recently announced the wind solar hybrid installation commissioned ...

Archaeologists excavate NY Colonial battleground

8 hours ago

Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground in upstate New York that was the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops, the flashpoint of an infamous massacre and the location of the era's largest ...

Google eyes Chrome on Windows laptop battery drain

15 hours ago

Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows has been said to have a problem for some time but this week comes news that Google will give it the attention others think the problem quite deserves. Namely, Google is to ...

Security contest techies say they hacked Tesla Model S

17 hours ago

The good news: Tomorrow's cars are computers on wheels. The bad news: Tomorrow's cars are computers on wheels. Ma Jie, writing in Bloomberg News, reported this week that the Tesla Model S sedan was the target ...

Water problems lead to riots, deaths in South Africa

19 hours ago

Three babies who died from drinking tap water contaminated by sewage have become a tragic symbol of South Africa's struggle to cope with a flood of people into cities designed under apartheid to cater to ...

Recommended for you

Jeju Island is a live volcano, study reveals

19 hours ago

In Jeju, a place emerging as a world-famous vacation spot with natural tourism resources, a recent study revealed a volcanic eruption occurred on the island. The Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral ...

Has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated?

19 hours ago

New research suggests that Antarctic sea ice may not be expanding as fast as previously thought. A team of scientists say much of the increase measured for Southern Hemisphere sea ice could be due to a processing ...

User comments : 0