Chunk of Africa Found in Southeastern US

Friday, 25 Apr 2014 09:25 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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A University of Georgia geophysicist’s study of rocks shows that a piece of Africa was left in the southeastern United States when the supercontinent of Pangea broke up more than 250 million years ago, according to ScienceDaily.com.

The Brunswick Magnetic Anomaly – which stretches from Alabama through Georgia and offshore to North Carolina's Outer Banks – is a fault zone that formed when parts of Africa and North America were one continent before a plate tectonic event separated them, LiveScience.com reports.

LiveScience explains that “anomalies in Earth’s magnetic field are caused by structures such as faults, and by the varying magnetic intensities of different rock types. These slight differences in rock magnetism can be measured and mapped to find hidden geologic structures.”

Georgia Geophysicist Horry Parker set out to determine if the Brunswick Magnetic Anomaly represents the long-held belief that the split between North America and Africa was created when Pangaea broke up about 200 million years ago, or if it is actually millions of years older and represents the original collision area between the two tectonic plates, an event that formed the southern Appalachian Mountains. His research concluded the latter, LiveScience reported.

Interpreting magnetic data in the southeastern U.S.is challenging, Parker told Fox News, because of the terrain’s deep faults and shallow features.


Parker’s findings are published in the April-May 2014 edition of GSA Today, a product of The Geological Society of America.


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