Evolution of North America

Evolution of North America

PHILIP BURKE KING
Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 216
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x1br7
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    Evolution of North America
    Book Description:

    In revising his now classic work on the geology of North America, Philip B. King has devoted attention both to the new concepts of global tectonics and to new facts obtained from fieldwork in recent years. From its overview of the natural history of continents, to the sections describing the characteristics and history of each region, this remains a fundamental text on continental geology.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6849-0
    Subjects: General Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. v-vi)
    Philip B. King
  3. REFERENCE MATERIAL
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. CHAPTER I THE NATURAL HISTORY OF CONTINENTS
    (pp. 3-10)

    Relief of oceans and continents. To us land dwellers it always comes as something of a shock to realize that the normal surface of the earth is not land, but water. Seventy percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, mainly ocean; only thirty percent is dry land, mainly continents.

    These differences are more than an accidental covering of parts of the surface by water, as there are certain remarkable features of the relief of this surface. The following figures have been calculated:

    From this may be derived the following principle:The frequency curve of elevations on the earth...

  7. CHAPTER II THE CANADIAN SHIELD AND ITS ANCIENT ROCKS
    (pp. 11-22)

    Geological analysis of the continent of North America can best begin with its central part, lying within the encircling Phanerozoic mountain chains. In contrast to the latter, with their long records of crustal mobility, this part of the continent has been stable since the beginning of Cambrian time—a Central Stable Region (or more technically aCraton) whose subsequent deformation has seldom been greater than gentle movements upward or downward, or mild warping and flexing.

    Basement of this Central Stable Region consists of Precambrian rocks. They are a prime control of its stability, as they are now strong, rigid, consolidated,...

  8. CHAPTER III THE INTERIOR LOWLANDS AND THE SCIENCE OF GENTLY DIPPING STRATA
    (pp. 23-41)

    We pass now to that other part of the Central Stable Region, the Interior Lowlands, where the Precambrian basement is concealed beneath younger, little disturbed rocks—a region about as extensive as the Canadian Shield itself, lying mainly to the south, southwest, and west, forming the vast central part of the United States, as well as a wide band in western Canada between the shield and the Cordillera (Plate I).

    In the United States the Interior Lowlands are the region drained by the Mississippi River and its tributaries—the Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, and others—which flow into the Gulf of...

  9. CHAPTER IV APPALACHIAN AND RELATED SYSTEMS; PALEOZOIC STRUCTURES SOUTHEAST AND SOUTH OF CENTRAL STABLE REGION
    (pp. 42-78)

    We pass now to the younger mountain belts that border the Central Stable Region, to which we will devote much of the remainder of this book. Attention will be given first to those structures formed during Paleozoic time that lie southeast and south of the stable region (Plate I).

    Topographic mountains. We have referred to these Paleozoic structures as a “mountain belt,” but this is true more in a geological than a geographical sense; more properly, it is an orogenic belt. While the system was once truly as mountainous as the Cordillera of the west is today, that was long...

  10. CHAPTER V LANDS AND SEAS SOUTH OF THE CONTINENT: MODERN ANALOGUES OF GEOSYNCLINES
    (pp. 79-91)

    We have described Paleozoic structures along the southeast and south sides of North America and how they grew from a geosyncline into a deformed belt whose mountainous character was afterwards greatly modified by erosion and burial. Before we take up the similar Cordilleran structures along the west side of the continent, it will be profitable to study the lands and seas to the south along the Gulf Coast and in the West Indies.

    Much of the human history, scenery, geography, geology, and geologic history of these regions is of interest, but our treatment of such matters will be incidental to...

  11. CHAPTER VI THE MOUNTAIN BELT OF WESTERN NORTH AMERICA; INTRODUCTION TO THE CORDILLERAN SYSTEM
    (pp. 92-100)

    We take up now the mountain system of western North America, to which we will devote the remainder of this book. It is a belt of ranges, in part massive and continuous, in part disconnected and isolated, and of intermontane valleys, basins, and plateaus, which extends 800 to 1,600 kilometers inland from the Pacific Coast along the entire length of North America (Plate I).

    Many of the varied features of the mountain system will be treated in this book, yet it will not be possible to do justice to all of them in view of the size and complexity of...

  12. CHAPTER VII THE EASTERN RANGES AND PLATEAUS; A NOVEL STRUCTURAL ELEMENT
    (pp. 101-132)

    The first unit of the Cordillera that we will consider will be the Central and Southern Rocky Mountains, the ranges of New Mexico, and the Colorado Plateau—that is, the ranges extending from central Montana through Wyoming and Colorado into New Mexico and the plateaus behind them on the west, which extend into Utah and Arizona. These, for want of a better title, we have referred to as theEastern Ranges and Plateaus.

    It is interesting to recall that Major Powell early recognized these great geographic and structural divisions, and that he termed the Southern Rocky Mountains the “Park province,”...

  13. CHAPTER VIII THE MAIN PART OF THE CORDILLERA: ITS GEOSYNCLINE AND THE MOUNTAIN BELT THAT FORMED FROM IT
    (pp. 133-155)

    In Chapter VII we explored an extensive part of the western Cordillera, yet this part is a set of Eastern Ranges and Plateaus that did not originate from a true geosynclinal area—as a well-behaved mountain belt should—and whose features are a novel structural element, not exactly comparable to any in the Paleozoic mountain belt on the southeastern side of the continent.

    We turn now to that part of the Cordillera farther west that has had a more conventional history, originating as a geosyncline along the border of the continent and developing through time into a mountain belt. Some...

  14. CHAPTER IX CENOZOIC ROCKS AND STRUCTURES OF THE MAIN PART OF THE CORDILLERA; LATER MODIFICATIONS OF THE FUNDAMENTAL STRUCTURE
    (pp. 156-182)

    The remainder of this book will be devoted primarily to those Tertiary and Quaternary modifications that have so greatly changed the aspect of the western part of the Cordillera after the great deformations of Mesozoic and Paleozoic time, creating the modern landscape and the topographic mountains we see today.

    We have already discussed such modifications in the Eastern Ranges and Plateaus (Chapter VII, section 7), where the low-standing ranges and basins that existed at the close of the Laramide orogeny were transformed into the present lofty mountains, plateaus, and plains. This was accomplished in part by folding and faulting later...

  15. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 183-183)

    With our examination of the Coast Ranges of California we have completed our arm-chair journey across North America. Our journey has been more circuitous than an actual traveler would care for—we commenced in the far north in the Canadian Shield, passed into the Interior Lowlands and across the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, then proceeded southward across the Gulf Coastal Plain to the West Indies; finally we arrived at the front of the Cordillera and crossed this westward from the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast.

    Our journey has also taken us through vast reaches of geologic time...

  16. SOURCES OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. 184-188)
  17. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 189-195)
  18. INDEX OF AUTHORS CITED
    (pp. 196-197)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 198-198)
  20. [Map]
    (pp. 199-199)