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Australia is a compact continent that has few major islands, inlets or embayments and a coastline of a bit less than 20,000 km.
The ratio of shore length to land area of about 1 km of coast for every 390 km off the north coast are the only major islands.
During this time period Australia had After being recycled many times over much of the history of the Earth, with no new rock added by volcanism, the soils of arid Australia have been weathered and leached more than any others making them the most nutrient-deficient soils in the world.
During the ice ages of the last 2.6 million years, glaciers covered much of the Northern Hemisphere, grinding unweathered rock into fine particles that became soil enriched with new minerals when the glaciers retreated.It is the driest, flattest, oldest, it has the most erratic climate of any continent, and much of it experiences great extremes of rainfall both during a year and from year to year.As a result of this, poor soil, arid and unpredictable climate over most of the continent, the plants, and therefore the animals that depend on them, have evolved into a unique flora and fauna.The authors suggest that about 30 million years would be required to base-level a continent of the size of Australia, after allowing for isostatic compensation that would result from erosional unloading, allowing plenty of time since the last major orogenesis for the formation of extensive plains by weathering and erosion.According to Twidale & Campbell, the compact shape of the Australian continent has contributed to the tendency for widespread plantation, with few major indentations or embayments along the extensive coastline.
These components have determined the outline of the continent and the overall pattern of drainage and relief.