In elementary school, children learn that the Earth’s lithosphere (the solid outer layer of the planet) is made up of huge, massive blocks that are constantly moving, driven by forces within the Earth. a land. These blocks are called tectonic plates, which move up magma from the cloak.
This is dynamic by location Science alertThey occur as fast as our nails grow, which over a billion years is enough to travel across the planet.
In one of the most complete models of tectonic plate motions ever assembled, scientists condensed a billion years of activity from these clumps into a 40-second video showing how these giant slabs of rock have interacted over time.
As they move, plates influence weather, tidal patterns, and the movements and evolution of animals volcanic activityMetal production and many other aspects. They are more than just a “cover”: they are the life support system that affects everything that inhabits this planet.
“On the scale of human time, things move in centimeters per year, but as we see in the animation, the continents were all over the place in time,” said geologist Michael Tetley, who completed his PhD at the University of Sydney in Australia. The study that produced a time-lapse video. “A place like Antarctica, which we see today as a cold and icy environment, was in fact once a ‘fun vacation destination’ in the Ecuadorean region.”
Understanding the motions and patterns of tectonic plates is critical for researchers to predict how habitable our planet will be in the future and where we will find the mineral resources needed to ensure clean energy life.
Plate motion is estimated by studying the geomagnetic record that provides data on the historical locations of the pillars relative to the Earth’s rotation axis and the types of material trapped in the rock samples that help match panorama cuts of past geological plates.
The team led by Tetley went to great lengths to select and match the best models currently available, considering each of the movements Continents and for interactions along plate boundaries.
Said geologist Sabine Zhirovic, of the University of Sydney, who co-authored the research, which was published in the scientific journal Earth Science Reviews.
Questions remain about how and when these plates first formed, but each new data point obtained helps us understand Earth’s ancient history. “Our planet is unique in the way it hosts life,” said Dietmar Muller, another geologist at the University of Sydney who was also involved in the study. “But this is only possible because geological processes such as plate tectonics provide a planetary life support system.”
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