Can’t afford to make it to the Grand Canyon? Well nevermind, because geologists from Melbourne’s Monash University have discovered that a chunk of the Grand Canyon came to us here in Australia a looong time ago, and it’s currently residing in Tasmania‘s north-west coast, in Rocky Cape National Park.
A bunch of rock formations in the park caught the eye of the geologists, because they strongly resembled those in the famous Grand Canyon and not much like the other rock formations around them.
Their study, published in Geology magazine, chemical testing confirmed their suspicions. The team checked a bunch of sciency rock things, like stratigraphy, depositional age, and ‘detrital zircon U-Pb age distribution and Hf isotope composition’. I too have literally no idea what any of those things are but I told my geologist friend and she got excited.
All we normies need to know is that all these things were extremely close in this particular group of rocks in Tassie and the Grand Canyon rocks in Arizona.
Based on these findings, the study concludes that these two very far apart rock formations were once very much together. Speaking to New Scientist study author, Jack Mulder, says it provided some pretty solid evidence to the popular theory that all 7 continents were once one supercontinent. You know, the thing you probably remember vaguely from high school science lessons.
“We concluded that although it’s now on the opposite side of the planet, Tasmania must have been attached to the western United States.”
So we already kinda new this was a thing, but the fact we now have evidence that Australia was once attached to the western coast of North America 700 million years ago is some pretty cool stuff. Some are even saying it could be the key to working out tectonic geography over time.