The largest deltaic plain in the history of the Earth



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From the field on Svalbard, showing an old canal extending into the Barents Sea. Credit: Tore Grane Klausen.

The largest deltaic plain in the history of the Earth has formed along the north coast of the supercontinent Pangea at the end of the Triassic. Its size far surpasses its modern counterparts and accounts for about 1% of the total area of ​​the modern world. And although pretenders are found in the rock disk, no old counterpart extends beyond the plain of the Triassic delta mapped in the basement of the Barents Sea.

An important part of this study by, published in Geology, was to document and compare the size of the delta plain, but also to understand why it had grown so big.

Extensive three-dimensional seismic databases and rock samples collected for oil exploration in the Barents Sea revealed that the deltaic plains covered the entire basin during the Triassic. Comparing the size of this delta plain with the modern and more difficult old plains, the ancient plains of the delta show that the Barents Triassic delta plains of the Barents Sea were the largest in the history of the Earth at have been preserved in the rock archives.

Its enormous size, which accounts for nearly 1% of the modern world's land mass, has been facilitated by a large watershed feeding sediment into an accumulated shallow basin.


Explore further:
Image: Eberswalde Crater Delta – 3-D

More information:
Tore Grane Klausen et al, The largest deltaic plain in the history of the Earth, Geology (2019). DOI: 10.1130 / G45507.1

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