Iron ore-rich Pilbara was once a separate continent: study

Australia’s iron ore-rich Pilbara and Yilgarn Cratons regions were once a small continent, about the size of Japan, reveals a study backed by The Geological Survey of Western Australia.

According to the leading author, geologist Simon Johnson, central Western Australia was formed by remnants of tectonic plates that crashed, forcing each other’s edges up to form mountain ranges.

He added that major fault lines like the ones discovered in the area are promising places to explore for minerals.

Johnson told Phys.org that, until now, geologists had to rely on data generated by mining firms exploring potential mineral deposits, and aerial magnetic surveys.

He added the method applied by his team, based on data from geophones laid manually on the ground, had shed new light on understanding the Earth’s he crust in three dimensions.

Image by Pilbara Regional Council

* Watch the related video, which reconstructs the breakup of the Australian, Antarctic and Indian tectonic plates.