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How Did Gold Get to Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia has not always looked the way it does today. The Province is made up of at least 3 different continents that came together as a result of tectonic plate movement in our geological past. The collision of the plates happened at different times, and each plate collision had a very significant effect on the landscape and geology of Nova Scotia. Plate collisions are responsible for gold being deposited in Nova Scotia.

385 MILLION YEARS AGO
Crash! Bang! Boom!
North America and North Africa Collide

Illustration of the North American continent 385 million years ago. Nova Scotia is not yet visible.

Ron Blakey and Colorado Plateau Geosystems Inc.

All of the gold in Nova Scotia was originally deposited in the deep ocean basins off the coast of North Africa about 500 million years ago. The collision between North America and North Africa 385 million years ago caused the rocks to squeeze and fold. Spaces were created between the folds in the rocks, allowing fluids rich in gold to flow through. Almost all of the gold in present day Nova Scotia is now found in these folds in the rocks.

345 MILLION YEARS AGO
Tropical Nova Scotia

Illustration of the North American continent 345 million years ago. Nova Scotia is mostly underwater.

Ron Blakey and Colorado Plateau Geosystems Inc.

Most of northern Nova Scotia was covered by a shallow, warm tropical sea, while southern Nova Scotia rose out of the ocean and began to erode. The Appalachian Mountains were forming at this time.

290 MILLION YEARS AGO
Pangaea – the Supercontinent

Illustration of the North American continent 290 million years ago. Nova Scotia is part of an enormous supercontinent, Pangaea.

Ron Blakey and Colorado Plateau Geosystems Inc.

All of the continents on Earth had collided and formed one giant supercontinent called Pangaea. Vast coal swamps formed on the equator, including over Nova Scotia.

150 MILLION YEARS AGO
Break-up of Pangaea

Illustration of the North American continent 150 million years ago. Nova Scotia is partially covered in water.

Ron Blakey and Colorado Plateau Geosystems Inc.

The supercontinent Pangaea began to break apart and the Atlantic Ocean began to form. Nova Scotia was partially covered by the ocean.