While there are plenty of mysteries out there in deep space, many puzzling conundrums still stump us right here on earth. The phenomenon of the ‘tectonic plates’ is one such question which has eluded geologists for centuries. But we might finally be getting closer to the answer as a latest computer model developed by Bercovici and Yanick Ricard of University of Lyon in France suggest.
According to researchers formation of earth’s tectonic plates might have occurred between four and three billion years ago and the entire process could have well taken over a billion years! The process involves low pressure zones at the base of the crust, which would have sucked it in by causing it to crumble. This would have repeated several times over before the formation of the final tectonic plate edges.
Geologists say that much of this evidence was wiped out over time due to the interaction between the various tectonic plates and their subsequent movement. David Bercovici from Yale University says that this repetitive process during formation continued until the weak areas of the plat boundaries were established. And in reality, the shaping of the tectonic plates is an ongoing process that obviously continues to this day.
Subduction, the process by which edge of one tectonic plate move sunder another and the two overlapping plates cause formation of significant geographic structures is the reason for formation of imposing features like the Himalayas. While four-billion-year-old zircons found in Australia further substantiate this theory, there are still those who believe that this is only the starting point on the journey to unraveling the tectonic plate mystery.