A NEW study published today states that existing research had wrongly positioned the tectonic plates that formed the supercontinent that became most of the landmasses in the Southern Hemisphere 165 million years ago.
Researchers from Royal Holloway University in London, Australian National University and Geoscience Australia, state they "have helped clear up previous uncertainties on how the Australian, Antarctic and Indian tectonic plates evolved" to form the supercontinent Gondwana and "where they should be positioned when drawing up a picture of the past". Scientists find 'sunken islands' that formed part of Gondwana "The Earth's tectonic plates move around through time. As these movements occur over many millions of years, it has previously been difficult to produce accurate maps of where the continents were in the past," said Dr Lloyd White from the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway University in the journal Gondwana Research.
We used a computer program to move geological maps of Australia, India and Antarctica back through time and built a 'jigsaw puzzle' of the supercontinent Gondwana. During the process, we found that many existing studies had positioned the plates in the wrong place because the geological units did not align on each plate.
The researchers stated that they used the research of people who discovered the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics, which - they state - "had largely been ignored by many modern scientists".
"It was a simple technique, matching the geological boundaries on each plate. The geological units formed before the continents broke apart, so we used their position to put this ancient jigsaw puzzle back together again," Dr White said.
"It is important that we know where the plates existed many millions of years ago, and how they broke apart, as the regions where plates break are of ten where we f ind major oil and gas deposits, such as those that are found along Australia's southern margin."
Read more: http://video.news.com.au/2395691935/Aus ... ia-breakup
Prospecting for other economic minerals in situ
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