The Canadian Rocky Mountains had been formed when the North American continent was dragged westward in the course of the closure of an ocean basin off the west coast and collided with a microcontinent over 100 million years in the past, based on a brand new examine by University of Alberta scientists.
The analysis, primarily based on excessive decision information of Earth’s subsurface on the Alberta-British Columbia (BC) border, favors an interpretation utterly different from the standard principle of how the Canadian Rocky Mountains fashioned. The standard policy, often known as the accretion model, means that a gradual accumulation of further matter ultimately shaped the Canadian Rockies — in contrast to the sudden collision occasion proposed by this analysis.
The research concerned seismic information collected from a dense community of seismic stations in western Alberta and eastern BC, mixed with geodynamic calculations and geological observations. The outcomes recommend that an ocean basin off North America’s west coast descended beneath the ribbon-formed microcontinent, dragging North America westward, the place it collided with the microcontinent.
“This study highlights how deep Earth photos from geophysical strategies will help us to grasp the evolution of mountains, some of the magnificent processes of plate tectonics noticed on the Earth’s floor,” stated Yunfeng Chen, who performed this analysis throughout his Ph.D. research beneath the supervision of Gu. Chen acquired the Faculty of Science Doctoral Dissertation Award in 2018.
“There are different mountain belts around the globe the place an identical model might apply,” stated Claire Currie, affiliate professor of physics and co-writer on the research.
Alberta and British Columbia communities supported these analysis efforts by internet hosting seismic stations on their land. The Alberta Energy Regulator can also support this analysis.