New Force Powering Earth's Tectonic Plates Discovered
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July 07, 2011

New Force Powering Earth's Tectonic Plates Discovered

597340[1] Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have identified a new mechanism driving Earth's massive tectonic plates, bringing fresh insight into long-standing debates about how powerful geological forces shape the planet, from earthquake ruptures to mountain formations.

Scientists who study tectonic motions have known for decades that the ongoing "pull" and "push" movements of the plates are responsible for sculpting continental features around the planet. Volcanoes, for example, are generally located at areas where plates are moving apart or coming together. Scripps scientists Steve Cande and Dave Stegman have now discovered a new force that drives plate tectonics: Plumes of hot magma pushing up from Earth's deep interior.

Using analytical methods to track plate motions through Earth's history, Cande and Stegman's research provides evidence that such mantle plume "hot spots," which can last for tens of millions of years and are active today at locations such as Hawaii, Iceland and the Galapagos, may work as an additional tectonic driver, along with push-pull forces.

Their new results describe a clear connection between the arrival of a powerful mantle plume head around 70 million years ago and the rapid motion of the Indian plate that was pushed as a consequence of overlying the plume's location.

The arrival of the plume also created immense formations of volcanic rock now called the "Deccan flood basalts" in western India, which erupted just prior to the mass extinction of dinosaurs. The Indian continent has since drifted north and collided with Asia, but the original location of the plume's arrival has remained volcanically active to this day, most recently having formed Réunion island near Madagascar.

The team also recognized that this "plume-push" force acted on other tectonic plates, and pushed on Africa as well but in the opposite direction.

"Prior to the plume's arrival, the African plate was slowly drifting but then stops altogether, at the same time the Indian speeds up," explains Stegman, an assistant professor of geophysics in Scripps' Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. "It became clear the motion of the Indian and African plates were synchronized and the Réunion hotspot was the common link."

After the force of the plume had waned, the African plate's motion gradually returned to its previous speed while India slowed down.

"There is a dramatic slow down in the northwards motion of the Indian plate around 50 million years ago that has long been attributed to the initial collision of India with the Eurasian plate," said Cande, a professor of marine geophysics in the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps. "An implication of our study is that the slow down might just reflect the waning of the mantle plume-the actual collision might have occurred a little later."

The Daily Galaxy via University of California - San Diego

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Comments

My visualizations of core/mantle interactions pictures something more akin to streams than plumes, but toss it around in my head I will. Very cool.

i failed to find anything new in the information provided by this study. Movement of Indian continent plate to join up Asia and form the Himalayas is well known and so also the tectonic activities that give rise to earthquakes. What will be remarkable lies in predicting earthquakes? Some animals have been reported to have some such pre-sense but it still lacks scientific documentation. Hope things will proceed in such innovative directions.

I do not see anything that is new or that was not already known for a significant amount of time in this article...

I recently saw someone's theory that the Earth is expanding in size and that accounts for continents drifting apart and formation of the oceans (no evidence on where the extra mass/volume is coming from). Maybe the Earth has a big burp stuck in it's core - and it's going to blow!!!! We are all going to die!!!

Well, we are informed that magma was in part responsible for the movement of crustal elements ! .....

Where would we be without scientists ? WTF did they think responsible for shear, subduction and compression ? Besides rotation of the planet and gravitic influences of our local system ? .... Guess the hothouse "scientists" have never observed oatmeal rumbling on low heat. Eejots. Fookin eejots

Sad commentary on the state of science and logic in todays Devolved World

Your world globe is a mirror image of the real one.

I think these guys are just part of a .gov disinfo team.
The current problem with the Earth is that we have a huge visitor to our solar system; "Nibiru/Wormwood".
The magnetic and gravity forces it places on Earth causes these eruptions.
Check out "Zeta Talk.com".
Yes, there is a bunch of disinfo there, but some kernals of truth too.


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