EOSC 332 · Tectonic Evolution of North America

An overview of the tectonic evolution of the North American Continent from the Hadean to the present; interrelations between sedimentation, deformation, metamorphism and magmatism in a plate tectonic context; introduction to various approaches in tectonic analysis of mountain belts; comparison and contrasts between the Archean and Proterozoic rocks of the North American Craton, and the Phanerozoic belts of the Appalachians and Cordillera. Prerequisite: EOSC 323 or permission from the instructor.

Course Availability & Schedule

Learning Goals

  • Learn about the tectonic evolution of Earth, and the North American Continent in particular, since the Hadean.
  • Relate shallow crustal processes to processes operating in the deep crust and mantle in various tectonic settings (e.g., arcs, continental rifts, etc.).
  • Actively work with complex datasets (geochemical, chronological, structural) to unravel the tectonic history of mountain belts and cratons.
  • Review the growth of the North American continent as a consequence of tectonic accretion.
  • Compare and contrast Precambrian and Phanerozoic tectonic processes as preserved in the rock record of North America.
  • Extract and critically evaluate key concepts bearing on the tectonic evolution of North America from scientific literature.
  • Draw tectonic parallels between the mountain belts of North America and those emerging in active regions such as the Himalaya and Andes.
  • Gain detailed insight into the development of Canadian Cordillera, including the field area for EOSC-328 Field Geology!


Matthijs A. Smit