Stop-and-go plate tectonics

Stop-and-go plate tectonics

Ancient crustal plates may have dived deep, time and again

By Alexandra Witze, 15:11 PM April 9, 2012

Plate tectonics might have gotten a fitful start on the early Earth.

Today, the process of Earth’s crustal movement called plate tectonics dictates nearly everything about the planet’s appearance, from the sites and heights of the mightiest mountain ranges to the depths of the oceans’ trenches. But geologists have long argued about when thin, rigid crustal plates first formed on the young planet and began jostling against one another.

Now, two researchers propose that plate tectonics start...

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