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The Continent´s movements created our natural resources

Published: 9 January 2015

For about 4600 million years ago when our planet was created the earth looked completely different with a probably thinner crust and other continents which later formed today's continents. Research on continental drift gives us today's unique knowledge of how rocks, ores and minerals once formed and whether they can be today.

–  With paleomagnetiska and geological data, we can piece together the continents and predict where such mineralization belts only discovered in a continent be expected in other continents, says Sten-Åke Elming.

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Diabase. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

During the late 1960s and early 1970s took for a change in how rocks are formed. Previously it was considered that the rock formation was a result of so-called geosynklinalbildning, ie sediments were deposited, which when they become sufficiently powerful depressed the crust to a depth such that the melting and volcanism occurred. The new paradigm could be concluded that the crust can be divided into a number of plates, continental and oceanic, which are moved relative to each other and then they collided arose volcanic activity, mountain ranges and new rocks were formed.

–  With paleomagnetisk research, namely the study of the frozen magnetism in rocks, one can determine where on the globe the continents were found when the rock was formed, and from these studies the continents movements on the earth could be determined, says Professor Sten-Åke Elming, Exploration Geophysics at Luleå University of Technology.

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Professor Sten-Åke Elming, Luleå University of Technology

At the dating of rocks, it was shown that the rock formations were not continuous, but occurred more frequently during certain eras. This brought the idea of ​​the emergence of so-called supercontinents, ie, a period when continents accumulated and thus a higher degree of collisions and rock formation. A challenge for the paleomagnetiska research is to seek re-create images of these recurring super continets, how they accumulated and how they broke up.

Reconstructions of plate movements and accumulations are supercontinents is important because it gives us a picture of where and how rocks and mineralization formed. Skellefte in Sweden is an example of the formation of rocks and mineralization which can be coupled to the flat collision. Rock and belts of mineralization encountered in a super continent can now be widely separated when the supercontinent broke up.

The paleomagnetiska research at the university was funded by the Swedish Research Council. The link below shows how a super continent accumulate:

Sten-Åke Elming

Elming, Sten-Åke - Professor

Organisation: Exploration Geophysics, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering
Phone: +46 (0)920 491392
Room: F850 - Luleå»