: a stable relatively immobile area of the earth's crust that forms the nuclear mass of a continent or the central basin of an ocean
krə-ˈtä-nik How to pronounce craton (audio)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The researchers performed computer simulations and found that up to 20 percent of the Kaapvaal craton could have been removed in this way and recycled to the ocean rift in as little as 100 million years. Theo Nicitopoulos, Discover Magazine, 16 June 2022 The craton, a stable interior of a continental plate, maybe one of two remaining pieces of Vaalbara, a theoretical supercontinent. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 11 June 2019 The first is the impact debris itself, which indicates that the Pilbara Craton was struck right at the onset of a transition that ultimately resulted in the formation of a craton. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 11 Aug. 2022 By analyzing the samples, analysts identified part of the North Atlantic craton, a remnant of the Earth’s ancient continental crust that stretched from Labrador to Scotland. Fox News, 24 Mar. 2020 What went where: The landmass was likely centered around the North American Plate’s craton, which may have been smashed against what’s now East Antarctica and southern Africa. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 12 June 2019 For instance, East Antarctica is a patchwork of old cratons and younger orogens. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, 8 Nov. 2018 By studying the amount of cratons and orogens, researchers can compare the continental plates beneath Antarctica to other regions around the world. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, 8 Nov. 2018 But unlike other cratons, East Antarctica didn’t seem to experience much in the way of seismic activity. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, 6 June 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'craton.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


German Kraton, modification of Greek kratos strength — more at hard

First Known Use

1944, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of craton was in 1944

Dictionary Entries Near craton

Cite this Entry

“Craton.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

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