Precambrian cratons—the relatively stable areas of the Earth's crust that form the core of continents—hold the key to understanding how continents evolve, but vast cratonic areas are concealed from scientific probing beneath Phanerozoic sediments. Working for the Alberta Basement Transect (ABT), a part of the Canadian Lithoprobe project, geologists are examining the evolution of the petroleum-rich Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). Armed with a variety of techniques, the scientists are resolving features within the sedimentary basin and unravelling the genesis of the underlying Precambrian crust and upper mantle. This represents a new view of a significant and largely unknown part of cratonic North America.
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