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. The best example would be volcanoes. They are generally located at areas where plates are moving apart or coming together.
Scientists Steve Cande and Dave Stegman, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has identified a new mechanism driving Earth’s massive tectonic plates. They have now discovered a new force that drives plate tectonics: Plumes of hot magma pushing up from Earth’s deep interior. Their research is published in the July 7 issue of the journal Nature.
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.
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