According to Ron Frost of the University of Wyoming:

One can strongly argue that the North American continent grew around the Wyoming craton by accretion of rocks onto the margins of the continent.

This makes the Wyoming craton the true nucleus of North America.

Hold on! He's saying that North America grew around Wyoming?

To visualize what he is saying we have to go back way back to a time when the land that was exposed on planet Earth looked nothing like what we see today.

The one land mass above the sea began to expand and split apart.

You can listen to a rather involved lecture about this in the video below.

At that time North America was at the bottom of a deep ocean.

The Wyoming Craton, along with the Slave Craton in northern Canada, contains the oldest rocks in North America.

The assembly of North America was completed during Cordilleran orogeny, which occurred along the western margin of the continent in the late Cretaceous to the Eocene (between 65 and 50 million years ago), and which formed nearly all of present-day Wyoming’s mountains and basins.

This involved accretion of island arcs from the Pacific onto the western margin of North America.

There is a lot more to it than what you see here, but that's the gist of it.

We might be able to make the argument that what we now call Wyoming was the cornerstone and everything else built up around it.

But that does not mean that Wyoming was always above it all. This area was once at the bottom of a shallow sea as the rest of North America rose up around it.

In the video below you can watch an animation of what geologists think the formation of North America might have looked like over time.

As always, sea levels rise and fall, and the climate is always changing.

As you watch the video above, see if you can imagine what North America will look like thousands or even millions of years from now.

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