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GEOL 101: Evolution of the Continents: Lecture 17

by: Natalee Stanton

GEOL 101: Evolution of the Continents: Lecture 17 101-017

Marketplace > University of South Carolina > Geology > 101-017 > GEOL 101 Evolution of the Continents Lecture 17
Natalee Stanton

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These notes will cover the Power Point, Professors notes, and the answers to the sample exam questions.
Geology 101-017
Class Notes
Geology 101
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Natalee Stanton on Wednesday February 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 101-017 at University of South Carolina taught by in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 24 views. For similar materials see Geology 101-017 in Geology at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 02/24/16
GEOL 101: Evolution of the Continents  I. Nature of continents ­ Continents are made and deformed by plate tectonic processes ­ Continental rocks are generally older than oceanic rocks ­ Lithosphere floats on a viscous layer below the continents, the asthenosphere, within the Earth’s mantle II. Continental lithosphere ­ Sedimentary cover ­ Crystalline basement (igneous and metamorphic rocks) ­ Uppermost mantle  III. Tectonic of North America ­ Portions of continents vary by tectonic province and age ­ Long geologic history is recorded ­ Tectonic setting may change over geologic time  o No matter where you are on a continent, the rock will change over  time  IV. Continental components a. Stable cratons 1. Shields­ metamorphic and igneous rocks at the surface 2. Platforms – sedimentary deposits at the surface b. Folded mountain belts (orogens)  Orogeny – a general term for mountain­building processes o Folding and thrusting of rock layer o Often accompanied by magmatic activity and metamorphism  o Evidence of multiple orogenic events is typically preserved in  continents V. Continental shield ­ Central, older portions of continents (older rocks) ­ Low elevation and relatively flat ­ Crystalline basements of metamorphic and igneous rocks ­ Composed of a series of zones that were once tectonically active   VI. Stable platforms ­ Shields covered with a sequences of horizontal sedimentary rocks o Sandstones, limestones, and shales deposited in ancient shallow seas ­ Many transgressions and regressions caused by changed in spreading rate o The raising and lowering of sea level over time ­ Sedimentary rocks are now preserved in large basins  Folded mountain belts:  The Appalachians ­ Relatively narrow zones of folded rocks with associated magmatism ­ Formed at convergent plate boundaries ­ Two major active belts  1. Cordilleran –Rockies­Andies 2. Alps­ Himalaya  Older examples include Appalachians and the Urals  Tectonic provinces of the West –  North American Cordillera  o Still active tectonically  VII. How continents grow  Magmatic differentiation – magma transferred form mantle to continents at  subduction zones  Continental accretion – buoyant fragments of crust attached t continents as  the result of plate motions o Amalgamation or accretion of terranes o Exotic terranes (seem out­of­place) 1. Accretion of island arcs –  2. Accretion of continental Fragments – Madagascar  3. Accretion along transform faults – San­ Anderas Fault  4. Accretion by continental collision/rifting  VIII. How continents are modified ­ Orogeny – mountain – building process of folding, faulting, magmatism, and  metamorphism ­ Epeirogeny – vertical motions of largely ….. o Vertical motions  IX. The Wilson Cycle  ­ Repeated opening and closing of ocean basins, collision and rifting of  continents  X. Formation of Cratons ­ Archean cratons o Granite­greenstone terrains o High­grade metamorphic XI. Deep structure of the continents ­ Structure of the craton o Continental crust o Cratonic keel – similar to an ice berg flaring in water  Sample Exam Questions: When is it though that the big bang took place  a. Approximately 4.5 million years ago b. Approximately 14 million years ago c. Approximately 4.5 billion years ago d. Approximately 14 billion years ago  What mountain chain runs along the eastern margin of North America? a. The Andes b. The Appalachian c. The Caledonides d. The Cordillera What is meant by the tectonic age of a region?  a. The oldest rocks in the region b. The oldest major deformation event in the region c. The youngest rocks in the region d. The youngest major deformation event in the region What is orogeny?  a. A broad exposure of deformed metamorphic and igneous rocks  b. A general term for mountain­building processes c. A special type of reverse fault  d. A theory that explains the uplift of continents after large ice sheets melt 


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