Plate Tectonics Might Have Started 3 Billion Years Ago

plate tectonics

Plate tectonics are as crucial as Earth itself. They are the reason Earth looks the way it does, with all the mountains and the composition of the atmosphere.

The significance of tectonic plates

Tectonic plates are responsible for bringing Earth’s viscera to the surface, thus resurfacing Earth and adding essential chemical elements to the atmosphere.

Sometimes, scientists are not much different from children arguing at the playground about whose sandcastle is more real. Science is reliable until it isn’t.

Just like in medicine there is no panacea, in science there is no exhaustive explanation for anything. Every discovery proves, at some point, to be ground for another one.

Take, for instance, the discovery of researcher Alec Brenner, a geologist from Harvard University’s Paleomagnetics Lab, who recently discovered some ancient rocks from Pilbara Craton, in western Australia and concluded, after thorough investigations, that plate tectonics vegan over 3 billion years ago.

The new study on plate tectonics

The debate about the time when the plate tectonics began and started the change the Earth’s looks is ancient. Some said int began 1 billion years ago, other that it stared 4 billion years ago.

And they all justify their belief with scientific arguments. The Universe must enjoy our childish sobriety when it comes to science. Anyway, Brenner and his team took 235 rocky core samples from the ancient, stable crust at Pilbara Craton, more specific form the segment Honeyeater Basalt.

The samples kept locked inside them the Earth’s magnetic field just as it was back in the Archean when the rocks cooled and solidified. Using a method called the paleomagnetic approach, researchers concluded that the tectonics plate started 1.3 billion years after the Earth was born.

“Based on the evidence we found, it looks like plate tectonics is a much more likely process to have occurred on the early Earth, and that argues for an Earth that looks a lot more similar to today’s than a lot of people think,” said Brenner.

The outcomes of the new study

Archean is a mysterious era for scientists. So, even Stephan Sobolev, who antagonized Brenner’s conclusions is a bit excited to find evidence from that time.

Stephan Sobolev is a professor of geodynamics at the University of Potsdam, and, although he considers Brenner’s work to be great, he doesn’t agree to the conclusion saying that the old plates’ “velocity [is] comparable with those of modern [tectonic plates].”

Neither is Sobolev convinced that these conclusions can be applied to the entire mantle of the planet. He considers the findings to be adequate only to that particular part of the world.

Also, the new study didn’t bring any changes to the True Polar Wander phenomenon. This is the name given to the Earth’s axis of rotation changes. Earth changed its axis of rotation during those billions of years.

The grandiose events such as the volcanic activity, the melting of ice sheets, or the plate tectonics are considered to be responsible for that change since they had the power to create massive changes in the Earth’s mass distribution.

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