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Contact: Robert Sanders
University of California - Berkeley

North American Craton

Caption: This graphic shows the thickness (in kilometers) of the North American lithosphere. The blue area is about 250 km thick and, based on new findings reported in Nature, is composed of a 3-billion-year old craton underlain by younger lithosphere deposited as ocean floor subducted under the continent within the past billion years. The green, yellow and red areas are younger and thinner continental lithosphere added around the margins of the original craton, also by subducting sea floor. The thick broken line indicates the borders of the stable part of the continent.

Credit: Barbara Romanowicz and Huaiyu Yuan, UC Berkeley

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