Presto, Change-o! | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Presto, Change-o!

Extraterrestrial impacts transform Earth's surface in an instant

7:33pm, June 11, 2002

Most geological processes unfold at less than a snail's pace. The tectonic plates that cover Earth's surface slog along, crashing into and sliding over one another at rates of only a few millimeters per year. Over millions of years, however, these unhurried liaisons raise mountain ranges. Wind, rain, and natural chemical erosion gradually rework the mountains into silt, clay, and dissolved minerals. Slowly, this inorganic detritus wends its way to the sea, where it joins a languid rain of dead marine organisms to form thick layers of ocean-floor ooze.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content