Tiny minerals may have shaped Earth’s first plate boundaries

Weakened rock may explain the origin of plate tectonics, a simulation finds

CRACKING EARTH’S SKIN  Intermittent weakening of corridors of crust on early Earth could have created plate boundaries through proto-subduction, a new simulation finds. Once weak zones became established plate boundaries, a plate could move and rotate, something like the present-day Pacific plate. The plate’s movement is evidenced by the sharp bend in the Emperor-Hawaiian island chain, a series of volcanoes that includes the Hawaiian Islands. The warm colors mark the plate boundaries.

D. Bercovici

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