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No. 57: May-Jun 1988

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Florida More Exotic Than The Travel Agents Promise

Anyone who has visited Florida knows that it differs in several ways from the rest of North America. Now we find that Florida doesn't even belong to North America; it is an interloper, an "exotic terrane."

How does one know this? Three facts hint that Florida doesn't belong:

  1. When pre-Cenozoic land masses are fitted together, assuming the truth of continental drift, an awkward overlap arises that suggests that Florida was not always where it is today;

  2. The latest paleomagnetic measurement of Florida's Paleozoic latitude is consistent with it being part of Gond wanaland rather than at its present latitude;

  3. Radiometric dating of zircons retrieved from a core extracted from Northern Florica yield an age of 16501800 million years. There are no known source rocks in the southeastern U.S. that old; Africa and South America are likely sources of such zircons.

"These (latter) two new lines of geologic data provide strong evidence confirming previous suggestions that Florida was part of Gondwana during the early Paleozoic and that its current configuration is that of an exotic terrane sutured to North America during the fragmentation of Pangea."

(Opdyke, Neil D., et al; "Florida as an Exotic Terrane: Paleomagnetic and Geochronologic Investigation of Lower Paleozoic Rocks from the Subsurface of Florida," Geology, 15:900, 1987.)

Comment. Other exotic terranes have been found in western North America, making the continent a veritable pastiche.

From Science Frontiers #57, MAY-JUN 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987