Tag Archives: plate tectonics

Glacial Sediments Greased the Gears of Plate Tectonics

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Earth’s fractured outer shell is composed of giant plates of solid rock that move —grinding together, sliding past or dipping beneath one another to create the mountain ranges and other major surface features of our planet and generating earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and other powerful events. However, Earth’s surface has not always experienced these “plate tectonics” and questions about when this began and how it has changed through time have been much debated by scientists. (more…)

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When water met iron deep inside the Earth, it might have created conditions for life

Washington, DC— Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth’s core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth’s history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth’s atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent work from an international research team published in National Science Review. (more…)

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Smaller is stronger for olivine

New research resolves 40 years of debate on the strength of olivine, the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s mantle

University of Delaware professor Jessica Warren and colleagues from Stanford University, Oxford University and University of Pennsylvania, reported new data that material size-effects matter in plate tectonics. (more…)

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Heat from Earth’s core could be underlying force in plate tectonics

For decades, scientists have theorized that the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates is driven largely by negative buoyancy created as they cool. New research, however, shows plate dynamics are driven significantly by the additional force of heat drawn from the Earth’s core. (more…)

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Plate tectonics

Geology professor’s study of olivine provides new data set for understanding plate tectonics

Plate tectonics, the idea that the surface of the Earth is made up of plates that move apart and come back together, has been used to explain the locations of volcanoes and earthquakes since the 1960s. (more…)

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Low level of oxygen in Earth’s middle ages delayed evolution for two billion years

A low level of atmospheric oxygen in Earth’s middle ages held back evolution for two billion years, raising fresh questions about the origins of life on this planet.

New research by the University of Exeter explains how oxygen was trapped at such low levels. (more…)

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New study reveals insights on plate tectonics, the forces behind earthquakes, volcanoes

The Earth’s outer layer is made up of a series of moving, interacting plates whose motion at the surface generates earthquakes, creates volcanoes and builds mountains. Geoscientists have long sought to understand the plates’ fundamental properties and the mechanisms that cause them to move and drift, and the questions have become the subjects of lively debate.

A study published online Feb. 27 by the journal Science is a significant step toward answering those questions. (more…)

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Cassini Spots Mini Nile River on Saturn Moon

PASADENA, Calif. – Scientists with NASA’s Cassini mission have spotted what appears to be a miniature, extraterrestrial likeness of Earth’s Nile River: a river valley on Saturn’s moon Titan that stretches more than 200 miles (400 kilometers) from its “headwaters” to a large sea. It is the first time images have revealed a river system this vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth.

Scientists deduce that the river, which is in Titan’s north polar region, is filled with liquid hydrocarbons because it appears dark along its entire length in the high-resolution radar image, indicating a smooth surface. (more…)

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