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Determining the elemental composition of a continent.

  1. Jan 3, 2012 #1
    Is it possible?
    With general knowledge about how the earth must have started what can we know about the composition of different areas around the earth?

    How accurate is this information?

    Is there... like a density map I can look at?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    There is a lot of variation in the crust on a single continent. You may have to search specific regions that you are interested in.
  4. Jan 3, 2012 #3
    As the continents are drifting, what's under them and what's on them is changing...some continents were part of others if you go back in time for example.

    This means that there are going to be a lot of over laps, and, variety even in one current continent.

    You should pick the one you want to explore, decide upon a depth and number of parameters, and go from there.

  5. Jan 4, 2012 #4
    Continental crust formation is still not well understood - especially those continents/parts of continents (called Archean) where the oldest crystals have been found/dated (3.8+ b.y. old).

    But what I sense that you're really asking is compositional differences as measured by density - if that's the case you might want to explore seismic tomography maps of the whole earth, but these are, by their nature, not high resolution.


    This is a free program for looking at earth-science data, including tomography. I think there are several free data sets available that can be plugged into the program for visualizing earth structures.

    Here is an excellent but highly technical article that discusses aspects of continental lithosphere, including density and compositional estimates.


    The answer to your question is not an easy one. There are vast areas of continents that have not been explored at depth Although there are geological maps usually available for areas of many continents, these do not constitute an overall 'composition' of continents as they are, for the most part, maps of surface structure.
  6. Jan 4, 2012 #5
    Thanks for the leads guys.
    Sorry that my stay here is so mortal. I just wanted to get an idea for this. Just trying to get a general scope of mind to optimize my future.
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