Mysteries of ancient Rheic Ocean beginning to unravel

Oct 09, 2007

A wealth of information on one of Earth's ancient oceans is now available in a single volume published by the Geological Society of America. The Evolution of Rheic Ocean: From Avalonian-Cadomian Active Margin to Alleghenian-Variscan Collision addresses long-standing controversies surrounding the ocean's origin, paleogeography, and ultimate closure.

The Rheic Ocean was one of the dominant oceans of the late Paleozoic. Approximately 420 million years ago it separated two large land masses: the supercontinent Gondwana, consisting of present-day South America, Africa, India, Australia, and Antarctica; and Laurussia, made up of North America, Greenland, Europe, and part of Asia.

According to co-editor R. Damian Nance of Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA, a major challenge in resolving uncertainties about the Rheic Ocean is the large geographic area over which its vestiges were scattered. This publication, in Nance's view, addresses the challenge head-on and sets the stage for new discoveries.

"This volume is a 'first' in a number of respects," said Nance. "It's the first to bring together a multi-disciplinary group of authors from 20 countries who report on aspects of the ocean spanning the full length of its former extent. It's the first to provide in English detailed accounts of important vestiges of the Rheic Ocean in former Eastern Block countries including East Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. It's also the first to describe in detail the existence of a previously unknown record of the ocean in Mexico."

Lead editor of the publication is Ulf Linnemann, Museum für Mineralogie und Geologie, Staatliche Naturhistorisch Sammlungen Dresden, Germany. Other co-editors are Petr Kraft, Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Charles University Prague, Czech Republic; and Gernold Zulauf, Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Papers in the volume originated as talks in several meetings organized by members of International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP) Project 497. These meetings included the 32nd International Geological Congress in Florence (August 2004), the opening meeting of IGCP in Prague (September 2004), and subsequent gatherings in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Source: Geological Society of America

Explore further: Lava creeps toward road on Hawaii's Big Island

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists reveal secrets of ancient ocean in new book

Nov 13, 2007

Call it the ocean that time forgot. About 400 million years ago, the Rheic Ocean played a big role in Earth’s history. When this massive body of water closed, the Appalachians were lifted to Himalayan heights ...

Recommended for you

Icelandic volcano sits on massive magma hot spot

Oct 24, 2014

Spectacular eruptions at Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland have been spewing lava continuously since Aug. 31. Massive amounts of erupting lava are connected to the destruction of supercontinents and ...

NASA sees Tropical Storm Ana still vigorous

Oct 24, 2014

NASA's TRMM satellite saw that Tropical Storm Ana was still generating moderate rainfall is it pulled away from Hawaii. The next day, NASA's Aqua satellite saw that wind shear was having an effect on the ...

User comments : 0