A piece of what is now Canada separated from the rest of North America and collided with Australia about 1,700 million years ago, according to a new study.
A team of geologists examining rocks found in northern Queensland did not appear to have originated in Australia, and they had more common characteristics than those found in Canada.
They say the discovery indicates that the region surrounding today's Georgetown in northern Queensland separated from the continent of America during its early formation and crashed into what is now known as Australia.
"Our research shows that about 1,700 million years ago, the Georgetown rocks were deposited in a shallow sea when the region was part of North America," said Adam Nordsvan, PhD student at Curtin University, who directed the study, which was published in the journal Geology .
"Georgetown then separated from North America and collided with the Moun, the Isa region of northern Australia about 100 million years later."
The new discovery provides scientists with new evidence on training from the ancient supercontinent, Nuna, a land mass formed by many of the continents we know today.  For millennia, Earth's continents have moved slowly, reorganizing into different combinations, and Mr. Nordsvan and his collaborators are trying to understand some of these ancient movements.
"This was a fundamental part of the global continental reorganization when almost every continent on Earth came together to form the supercontinent called Nuna," said Mr. Nordsvan.
Nuna existed long before the best-known supercontinent of Pangea, which was around 335 million years ago.
The investigation revealed that when Nuna began to separate about 300 million years after the initial collision, the Georgetown area stayed where it was.
The collision also produced a mountain range, the same phenomenon that occurred when India crashed in the rest of Asia about 55 million years ago, forming the Himalayas.
"Our team's ongoing research shows that this mountain belt, in contrast to the Himalayas, would not have been very tall, suggesting the last continental assembly process that led to the formation of the supercontinent Nuna was not a collision lasts as the recent collision of India with Asia, "said Professor Zheng-Xiang Li, another Geologist at Curtin University, co-author of the study.