Tectonic plates are large rocky structures that form part of the Earth’s lithospheric crust and move over the asthenosphere, a less rigid layer beneath the lithosphere. According to researchers in the field, Understanding the movement of tectonic plates is crucial to understanding the planet’s geology and some destructive natural events such as earthquakes and volcanoes.

Thanks to plate tectonics, scientists can also learn a little more about the history of the Earth. Billions of years ago the planet was just a molten lava ball, but as it gradually cooled, it formed a rocky crust that gave rise to plates on Earth’s surface.. These are what help form rifts, mountain ranges, volcanoes, among other natural phenomena.

Although they have been impacting the Earth for millions of years, Plate tectonics was accepted only after a theory was formulated in the mid-1960s.. This theory was based in part on the work of Alfred Wegener, a German geologist and meteorologist who proposed the hypothesis of continental drift.

Wegener proposed that the continents were in motion and breaking away from a supercontinent called Pangea. His idea was combined with studies of seafloor spreading, but it was only then that the theory of plate tectonics was proposed and widely accepted.

“Before plate tectonics, people had to find site-specific explanations for geological features in their area. Plate tectonics combined all these explanations and said that you should be able to describe all geological features as if they were driven by relative conditions. Lamont-Doherty at Columbia University (USA) This is the movement of tectonic plates,” Nicholas van der Elst, a seismologist at the Earth Observatory, said in a message posted to the website. Live Science.

Geologists and other experts in this field have long been studying the rock formations of the planet. Do we know the number of tectonic plates in the world? The truth is that the answer may vary slightly. To understand.

What role does plate tectonics play for planet Earth?

Understanding the properties of plaques It is fundamental for studying the formation and dynamics of the Earth’s surface; It’s no surprise that this geological phenomenon is known for forming mountains, volcanoes, and causing earthquakes. They also influence the development of natural resources, the development of biodiversity and several other important aspects of our planet.

The scientific community recommends: There may be approximately 100 tectonic plates spread across the Earth, but can also only have six boards. The exact number will depend on how the geologist decides to investigate the subject. For example, most people claim that the planet has between 12 and 14 main plates, each with an area of ​​approximately 20 million square kilometers.

Despite the understanding that science has achieved in recent years, many discoveries are likely to be made in the not too distant future, especially if we consider the advancement of technology. Then, The number of tectonic plates will likely continue to change over the years.

The movement of tectonic plates (image) is responsible for many important natural processes on Earth.

“We don’t really know when plate tectonics began as it appears today, but we do know that we have continental crust that was probably scraped from a receding plate. [uma placa tectônica numa zona de subducção] That is, it is 3.8 billion years old. “We can guess that this means plate tectonics was working, but it would have looked very different from today,” adds Van der Elst.

The seven largest tectonic plates in the world are:

  • Pacific Plate: Largest plate in the Pacific Ocean;
  • North American Plate: Covers the North American continent and parts of the Atlantic Ocean;
  • Eurasian Plate: Covers Europe, Russia and Asia, excluding India;
  • South American Plate: Located in South America and parts of the Atlantic Ocean;
  • African Plate: Formed along the African continent and part of the crust in the Atlantic Ocean;
  • Indo-Australian Plate: The plate exists in parts of Australia and India, but some scientists consider them to be two plates;
  • Antarctic Plate: Located along Antarctica and surrounded by the African, Australian, South American and Pacific Ocean plates.

There are also those The Philippine Sea is considered the smallest parts of the earth’s crust known as the Cocos, Nazca, Arabian and Juan de Fuca plates. It is precisely the seven largest plates combined with the five smallest plates that formalize scientists’ current understanding of the region, and so many believe the plate estimate should be between 12 and 14.

We cannot forget the plates with extensions reaching up to one million square kilometers, which break apart and form microplates. It is estimated that there are 54 of these small formations in total on Earth.

Did you like the content? So, stay updated with more curiosities about our planet Earth at TecMundo. If you wish, take the opportunity to discover how the 120 million-year-old lost tectonic plate in Asia was found.

Source: Tec Mundo

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I'm Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I've written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.


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