craton

[krey-ton]
noun Geology.
a relatively rigid and immobile region of continental portions of the earth's crust.
Also called continental shield.


Origin:
1940–45; < German Kraton, based on Greek krátos power; cf. -cracy, -on2

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Collins
World English Dictionary
craton (ˈkreɪtən)
 
n
geology See shield a stable part of the earth's continental crust or lithosphere that has not been deformed significantly for many millions, even hundreds of millions, of years
 
[C20: from Greek kratos strength]
 
cratonic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
craton   (krā'tŏn')  Pronunciation Key 
A large portion of a continental plate that has been relatively undisturbed since the Precambrian era and includes both shield and platform layers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

craton

the stable interior portion of a continent characteristically composed of ancient crystalline basement rock. The term craton is used to distinguish such regions from mobile geosynclinal troughs, which are linear belts of sediment accumulations subject to subsidence (i.e., downwarping). The extensive central cratons of continents may consist of both shields and platforms. A shield is that part of a craton in which (usually) Precambrian basement rocks crop out extensively at the surface. By contrast, in a platform the basement is overlain by horizontal or subhorizontal sediments.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Perhaps it's related to areas of the continent that aren't underlain by ancient
  core rocks of the continental craton.
These sedimentary rocks that commonly lie closer to the margins of continents
  are the craton.
Tectonic juxtaposition of two or more terranes, or tectonic juxtaposition of
  terranes to a craton margin.
They gradually deteriorate to become part of the low-lying craton itself.
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