In 40 seconds, geologists summed up a billion years of plate tectonics. What are the implications of this new model?
About four billion years ago, the rigid envelope covering the Terre – dite lithosphere – begins his separation in many tectonic plates. Plates at movement constant, although imperceptible to the living beings that walk them. ” These plates move to the speed to which the nails grow, but when a billion years is condensed into 40 seconds, a fascinating dance is revealed », comment Sabin Zahirovic, geologist and co-author of a study on this tectonics. For the first time, these researchers have simulated the tectonic plates over a billion years!
The ” brand new model »Designed by these scientists, and summarized in a 40-second animation, highlights light the upheavals experienced by our Planet. ” The oceans open up and ferment, continents disperse and recombine periodically to form immense supercontinents Sabin Zahivoric contemplates. Above all, reconstruction reconnects geological periods by showing that these movements follow one another and are linked together with fluidity. Having completed this first step, the researchers made their files available to their colleagues, so that the scientific community could develop modeling more and more detailed and coherent on the history of the Earth.
An eventful life
Based on our current data, this dynamism is unique among rocky planets known. It is one of the factors that allowed life to emerge. Since ” geological processes, such as plate tectonics, provide a planetary survival system », Underlines geologist Dietmar Müller, also co-author. This plate tectonics is responsible, for example, for the cycles of the carbone present in the depths of the Earth. But also, in part, changes in sea level.
« Continents have been everywhere in time “, Notes Michael Tetley, one of the authors, noting that a” place likeAntarctic, which today we consider cold and icy, inhospitable, was once a beautiful holiday destination on the equator “. In other words, ” this comprehensive model will help explain how our home, planet Earth, became habitable for complex creatures », Avance Dietmar Müller.
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