Rocky mountains originated from previously unknown oceanic plate

The mountain ranges of the North American Cordillera are made up of dozens of distinct crustal blocks. A new study clarifies their mode of origin and identifies a previously unknown oceanic plate that contributed to their assembly. Geologists were able to locate the remnants of several deep-sea trenches that mark subduction sites at which oceanic plates plunge at a steep angle into the mantle and are drawn almost vertically into its depths.

Earth is ‘lazy’ when forming faults like those near San Andreas

Some geoscientists have taken an uncommon, “Earth is lazy” approach to modeling fault development in the crust and it is providing new insights into how faults grow. In particular, this group is studying irregularities along strike-slip faults, the active zones where plates slip past each other such as at the San Andreas Fault of southern California.

Scientists image deep magma beneath Pacific seafloor volcano

Since the plate tectonics revolution of the 1960s, scientists have known that new seafloor is created throughout the major ocean basins at linear chains of volcanoes known as mid-ocean ridges. But where exactly does the erupted magma come from? Researchers now have a better idea after capturing a unique image of a site deep in the earth where magma is generated.

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