Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Geologists Study How Beachfront Property Turned Mountainous

Date:
September 7, 1999
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
A modern cowboy would feel right at home along the Rocky Mountains in southern Wyoming, but if he could have been there 2 billion years ago, he would have needed a swimsuit--he'd be on the beach.

U.S., German scientists look into collision of ancient land masses, rise of the Rockies

Related Articles


HOUSTON, Sept. 2, 1999 -- A modern cowboy would feel right at home along the Rocky Mountains in southern Wyoming, but if he could have been there 2 billion years ago, he would have needed a swimsuit--he'd be on the beach.

A team of scientists is studying how North America formed almost 2 billion years ago along the Rocky Mountain range from Laramie, Wyo., to Albuquerque, N.M.

Geologists are mapping the earth beneath North America to try to understand how ancient pieces of land collided with what is now Canada and Wyoming, which scientists believe was once a coastline, to form our continent.

They are particularly interested in the transition boundaries between the ancient land masses, formed as island arcs collided with the proto-North American continent between 1 and 2 billion years ago to make southwestern North America, says Alan Levander, a Rice University geophysicist, one of the principal investigators of the project.

They will look for clues as to why mountains popped up in certain areas and how the modern Rockies formed, telling information about how the land masses came together. The ancient sutures along which the continent was constructed appear to provide strong control over more modern deformations that produced the relatively young Rocky Mountains.

A team of 19 researchers from 13 American universities and Germany, led by Karl Karlstrom of the University of New Mexico, are undertaking the project together. Funded with a $2.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the active source seismology experiments for the "Continental Dynamics of the Rocky Mountains" project began in late July and run through October.

The team's research techniques provide the equivalent of an ultrasound image of what lies beneath the American Rockies, allowing them to look at the different types of old rock layers--the boundaries created as pieces of Earth's crust were added to North America. Along the Rocky Mountains from Wyoming to New Mexico, sensitive seismic equipment records manmade shaking of the Earth, created by controlled explosions, buried deep within the Earth, and large vibrating trucks, frequently used in oil exploration, which inject 250,000 pounds of force into the Earth. The measurements will reveal the density of the rocks and material that the seismic waves pass through, allowing researchers to visualize the structure of what lies far under the Earth's surface, about 25 miles down, where the Earth's crust meets the mantle.

"In doing this we hope to image the ancient suture zones along which the continent was constructed, and which are now controlling active tectonics," Levander says.

Geological and earthquake seismology studies began over a year ago, and will continue into next year.

The Continental Dynamics of the Rocky Mountains project is a three-year, multi-institutional project funded by the Continental Dynamics Program of the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Geologists Study How Beachfront Property Turned Mountainous." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907074325.htm>.
Rice University. (1999, September 7). Geologists Study How Beachfront Property Turned Mountainous. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907074325.htm
Rice University. "Geologists Study How Beachfront Property Turned Mountainous." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907074325.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) A scuba diving Santa Claus explored the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dive shop owner Spencer Slate makes the dive each year to help raise money for charity. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins