A piece of a lost continent has been discovered lurking beneath Canada — and the evidence was hiding in rocks that originated in Earth’s interior, where diamonds form.
The secret was concealed in a type of diamond-bearing volcanic rock, known as kimberlite. Kimberlite originates deep underground in magma in Earth’s mantle, and picks up hitchhiking diamonds as it hurtles toward the surface during volcanic eruptions. The kimberlite, from Baffin Island in northern Canada, was collected by a diamond mining and manufacturing company.
Scientists found that the mineral chemistry of the Baffin Island kimberlite matched that from an ancient and long-lost continent that formed nearly 3 billion years ago and broke up 150 million years ago. A portion of that “lost” continent still anchors part of North America, and based on the location of the kimberlite samples, the size of that ancient slab is about 10% bigger than previously thought, researchers reported in a new study.