Geology

Geology

Let’s start our brief story 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era, the Age of Dinosaurs. This was the height of the dinosaurs’ development; they reached their maximum size at this time. They lived all over this and many other continents. Both the present east and west coasts of North America were being subjected to a lot of volcanic activity. The supercontinent Pangaea was breaking apart. The new valley, the Mid-Atlantic Rift, between Europe and North America, began to fill with ocean water, and became the North Atlantic Ocean. Along the young Mid-Atlantic Rift, black basaltic lavas were spewing out, creating the new ocean floor. In places along the new eastern coastline, fractures parallel to the rift allowed basaltic lavas to pour onto the land. The North American Plate, carrying the continent and the western part of the new ocean floor, began to move toward the west. The Pacific Ocean floor, broken into several plates, including the Farallon Plate, was being pushed under Asia and North America, melting at the edges. Many chains of volcanoes were formed around the ocean. Thus was born the Ring of Fire.

 

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