A Swirl of Old Supercontinent Silt

A Swirl of Old Supercontinent Silt

Svalbard, an archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, is known as something of a mecca for geologists. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this natural-color image of red water pooling in a shallow meltwater lake near the terminus of Holmström glacier. Sometimes called the Old Red Sandstone, the rock layer formed on land when sand and other sediments were trapped in a basin enclosed by series of mountain ranges. The mountain ranges emerged when several of the world’s land masses were smashed together in a supercontinent called Laurussia, sometimes called the Old Red Continent. “The red Devonian rock is fairly soft and erodes easily,” explained University of Edinburgh geologist Geoffrey Boulton.

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