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26 December 2019
A new study suggests that polar motion and subsequent shifts in Earth’s crust may increase volcanic activity. “I find it quite exciting to know that while climate drives Earth’s spin, its rotation can also drive volcanoes and seismicity,” said Sébastien Lambert, a geophysicist at Paris Observatory in France and lead author of the study. The new findings, however, don’t allow scientists to forecast volcanic activity.
6 September 2019
Convection in Earth’s mantle is the “engine” driving plate tectonics. Hot material rises to the Earth’s surface from the boundary between the planet’s core and mantle, at a depth of about 3000 kilometers. Cold material then flows downward due to oceanic tectonic plates sinking into the mantle at subduction zones on the Earth’s surface.
4 March 2019
A geologic fault system in central Italy that produced a deadly earthquake in 2016 is also responsible for a fifth-century earthquake that damaged many Roman monuments, including the Colosseum, according to new research. The Mount Vettore fault system, which winds through Italy’s Apennine Mountains, ruptured in the middle of the night on August 24, 2016. The magnitude 6.2 earthquake it generated killed nearly 300 people and destroyed several villages in the surrounding region. The fault ruptured again in October 2016, producing two more earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 6.
1 August 2018
By mapping the heat escaping from below the Greenland Ice Sheet, scientists have sharpened our understanding of the dynamics that dominate and shape terrestrial planets. Tracking these geodynamics of planets helps scientists understand their evolution. But more immediately, the heat information feeds sea-level-change models on Earth by helping scientists predict the behavior of ice. This is particularly important for the surface of land that, in the case of Greenland, is buried below kilometers of ice and so is hard to get to.
11 December 2017
New research reveals that mysterious intraplate seismic zones underwent significant deformation hundreds of millions of years ago.
4 October 2017
In some areas of the seafloor, a tectonic mystery lies buried deep underground. The ocean floor contains some of the newest rock on Earth, but underneath these young oceanic plates are large swatches of much older continents that have been dislocated from their continental plates and overtaken by the younger, denser oceanic plate. Researchers have been puzzled by this phenomenon for some time: how does a continental plate leave some of itself behind?
29 August 2016
A handful of faults lining the border of California and Nevada may be near the point of rupture, according to a new study assessing earthquakes in the region as far back as 1,400 years ago. Scientists report that earthquakes in a fault network east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are not random, but are likely triggered from stress bestowed by past earthquakes. This same type of stress has built up in six faults near Death Valley, California, and Reno, Nevada, according to the new research.
8 March 2016
New Zealand’s Alpine Fault has moved more in the last 25 million years than any other known land fault on Earth, according to new research. Findings of a new study reveal that over this time period, the two sides of South Island have shifted relative to each other more than 700 kilometers (435 miles),which dramatically changes our understanding of New Zealand’s tectonic movements.
13 June 2012
Þingvellir, Iceland – There aren’t many places in the world where you can walk along a “mid-ocean ridge” and still keep your feet dry. But here the separation of two vast slabs of Earth’s crust—a slow-moving drama usually hidden far below the ocean waves at the bottom of the sea—takes place in plain view.
10 December 2011
Our Earth is a Goldilocks planet. It’s neither too cold nor too hot but right in the habitable zone. Add another parameter that’s needed to be just right to incubate life on our world: plate tectonics. A team of geophysicists is modeling conditions that favor cruising plates on planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets, which might clue scientists into which of those worlds harbor complex life. “We …