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A. J. Haywood

Remains of ancient islands closely resembling Hawaii are found in Tian Shan mountains

By The Siberian Times reporter
16 May 2016

Siberian scientist leads team making unexpected discovering in Kyrgyzstan.

'Mountains appeared and brought the fragments of ancient islands remaining on the surface higher an higher.' Picture: Dmitry Suponnikov

Fragments of rock are seen as proof of the discovery of islands structurally akin to Hawaii in Central Asia. Novosibirsk scientist Dr Inna Safonova said: 'We have found in the mountains of the southern Tien Shan  fragments of oceanic islands. 

'It is not just about the ocean rocks, which in the past were at the bottom of the ocean. In this case, there could be some different interpretations: (was it a) deep, deep marginal sea or an ocean? 

Atbashy range


Atbashy range

Atbashy range in Tien Shan, whre the fragments of ancient islands were found. Pictures: Dmitry Suponnikov

'However, we have found fragments of oceanic islands and on various grounds - primarily palaeontological data - were able to establish their age. It turned out that it is a chain of volcanic islands that existed through all the Devonian period, from 415 to 360 million years ago, that is for about 55 million years. That's a lot!'

The islands were in an ocean or major sea called Turkestan, or South Tien Shan paleo-ocean, was located between modern day Kazakhstan and northwestern China. 

'According to our calculations, the Turkestan ocean can be compared with the Indian. That is, it was a pretty big ocean, surrounded by two or more continents,' she said. The origin of these volcanic islands in the middle of the ocean, are associated with 'hot spots' such as Hawaiian, namely mantle plumes.

Map

Location of accretionary complexes with fragments of oceanic uplift in the Central Asian fold belt, the Russian Far East and Japan. Picture: Inna Safonova

Dr Safonova explained: 'A mantle plume is a jet of the mantle material and/or energy which rises from the depths of the mantle (regardless of convective flows or lithospheric plate boundaries) to cause melting of the Earth's crust and lead to the eruption of lava which has the special composition and the formation of volcanoes on the Earth's surface. As the lithospheric plates move, over the plume occurs chain of volcanic structures, such as the chain of the Hawaiian Islands.'

The geologists concluded that the chain of paleo islands they found was formed under the influence of a mantle plume in the interior of an ancient oceanic plate, on which millions of years ago the Turkestan ocean existed. 

Reconstruction of ancient oceanic island

Reconstruction of ancient oceanic island. Picture: Inna Safonova

This ancient sea or ocean gradually disappeared as the continents on its edged moved closer together. But small areas were 'cut off' by the edges of continental lithospheric plates. 

As the continents came closer they continued to move and crease each other. In the places where they collided mountains appeared and brought the fragments of ancient islands remaining on the surface higher an higher.

Inna Safonova

Dr. Inna Safonova, senior researcher at the Laboratory of Experimental Geochemistry and Petrology of the Mantle of the Earth at Novosibirsk State University and Magmatic Petrology and Ore Formation Laboratory at V.S. Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy. Picture: Novosibirsk State University

Scientists from Russia, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom were involved in the research.

Dr. Inna Safonova is senior researcher at the Laboratory of Experimental Geochemistry and Petrology of the Mantle of the Earth at Novosibirsk State University and Magmatic Petrology and Ore Formation Laboratory at V.S. Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

Comments (3)

Such a fascinating work. My compliments to the research team for unravelling this beautiful secret of Nature. Hope to read more about this, having stumbled upon this article while checking out on Tien Shan mountains..
Kpss, Chandigarh, India
13/08/2017 20:04
0
0
Interesting research. ! What are particular distinctive minerals in this specific basalt (or other rocks) please?
Jocelyne, FRANCE
22/05/2016 16:08
4
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This is fascinating research, congratulations to all of the scientists involved and thank you for sharing it with us. We have so much to learn from our Earth's natural history and evolution. Also, in my opinion, this type of research is a wonderful opportunity to create employment for all of our STEMC skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science).
Pamela Tetarenko, League City, USA
19/05/2016 20:16
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0
1

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