Scientists have reconstructed a long-lost tectonic plate that may have given rise to an arc of volcanoes in the Pacific 60 million years ago.
The plate, dubbed “the Resurrection,” has long been a controversial among geophysicists, with some believing it never existed. But the new reconstruction places the edge of the rocky plate along a line of known ancient volcanoes, indicating that it was once part of the crust (the upper layer of Earth), in what is today northern Canada.
University of Houston
“Volcanoes form at plate boundaries, and the more plates there are, the more volcanoes are that also affect climate change. So, when you try to model the Earth and understand how climate has changed, you really want to know how many volcanoes there are,” said Johnny Wu, a geologist at the University of Houston, in a statement. on the earth”.
University of Houston
Wu and co-author, Spencer Fauston, a doctoral candidate in geology at the University of Houston, used a computer model of the Earth’s crust to “detect” the movement of tectonic plates since the early Neolithic, the geological age that began 66 million years ago. Geophysicists already knew that there were two plates in the Pacific Ocean at the time, the “Cola” and “Farallon” plate.
Given the abundance of magma east of the former site of these plates, in what is today Alaska and Washington, some geophysicists have argued that there is a missing piece in the puzzle – a theoretical plate they called “the Resurrection.” This magma had left behind volcanic activity at the edge of the plate.
All these plates long ago sank beneath the Earth’s crust in a process called subduction. Wu and Fauston used computer reconstruction to undo this subduction, raising the plates nearly to the surface and rewinding their motion. And when they did, they found that “the resurrection” did fit the picture. They reported the results October 19 in the journal GSA Bulletin.
“When” raised “to the surface of the Earth and rebuilt, Wu said,” the boundaries of this ancient resurrection tectonic plate coincide well with the ancient volcanic belts of Washington state and Alaska, providing a much desirable link between the ancient Pacific Ocean and North America. ”
Source: Live Science
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