Geologists Find Lost Fragment of Ancient Continent in Canada’s North


Sifting through diamond exploration samples from Baffin Island, Canadian scientists have identified a new remnant of the North Atlantic craton—an ancient part of Earth's continental crust.

A chance discovery by geologists poring over diamond exploration samples has led to a major scientific payoff.

Kimberlite rock samples are a mainstay of diamond exploration. Formed millions of years ago at depths of 150 to 400 kilometres, kimberlites are brought to the surface by geological and chemical forces. Sometimes, the igneous rocks carry diamonds embedded within them.

“For researchers, kimberlites are subterranean rockets that pick up passengers on their way to the surface,” explains University of British Columbia geologist Maya Kopylova. “The passengers are solid chunks of wall rocks that carry a wealth of details on conditions far beneath the surface of our planet over time.”

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