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Evidence of ancient supercontinent found

BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. and international geologists say they've discovered a billion-year-old piece of North America they can trace back to Antarctica.

Researchers say it's the strongest evidence yet found suggesting North America and Antarctica were connected 1.1 billion years ago, long before the supercontinent Pangaea formed, a Geological Society of America release reported Monday.

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"I can go to the Franklin Mountains in West Texas and stand next to what was once part of Coats Land in Antarctica," study leader Staci Loewy, a geochemist at California State University, Bakersfield, said. "That's so amazing."

The geologists found rocks collected from both locations have the exact same composition of lead isotopes, are the same age and have the same chemical and geologic properties.

The finding lends credence to the theory that ancestral North America and East Antarctica were once joined in an earlier supercontinent called Rodinia, the researchers say.

The study has been published in the journal Geology.

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