Pangea Polished Fragment (LARGE)
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This specimen is a polished diabase fragment from the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province deposits of Eastern North America. Similar to the specimen in the Acrylic version of the Mini Museum, but much larger, the item is encased in an acrylic specimen jar and housed in a glass-topped riker display box measuring 4x3x1 (inches). A small information card will accompany the specimen.
"Our planet is a restless home." ~ Sean C. Solomon, Chair NASA Solid Earth Science Working Group, 2002
Driven by heat from the core, convection currents churn the solid silicates of the mantle, pushing and pulling the thin plates of crust, bringing continents together and tearing them apart in cycles which can last for hundreds of millions of years. This shifting can also bring several continents into close enough proximity to form a single landmass above sea level. These clusters are known as supercontinents; the most famous of which is Pangea.
Pangea formed roughly 335,000,000 years ago and existed as a single landmass for approximately 160,000,000 years. The breakup came after a series of powerful rifting events, in which strong pulses of magma forced continental plates apart at the seams, creating new crust and opening up the basin in which the Atlantic Ocean eventually took shape. Extant remnants of these flood basalts can be found in former rifts located in modern-day Morocco, Southwestern Europe, the Amazon River Basin, and Eastern North America.
The source rock was donated by the Luck Stone quarry adjacent to the Manassas U.S. Civil War battlefield in Northern Virginia. The quarry is a magnificent location where it is possible to clearly see one of the rift valleys which tore through the ancient supercontinent and might once have become the Atlantic Ocean.