How plate tectonics, mountains and deep-sea sediments have maintained Earth’s ‘Goldilocks’ climate

The Earth evolved from a hothouse climate in the Cretaceous Period (left) to an icehouse climate in the following Cenozoic Era (right), leading to inland ice sheets. Credit: F. Guillén and M. Antón / Wikimedia commons For hundreds of millions of years, Earth’s climate has warmed and cooled with natural fluctuations in the level of … Read more

Evidence of ‘modern’ plate tectonics dating to 2.5 billion years ago found in China

This illustration shows an early Earth with plate tectonics. (Image credit: Zoonar GmbH / Alamy) A unique rock formation in China holds clues that tectonic plates subducted, or went underneath other plates, during the Archean eon (4 billion to 2.5 billion years ago), just as they do nowadays, a new study finds. This 2.5 billion-year-old … Read more

Earliest geochemical evidence of plate tectonics found in 3.8-billion-year-old crystal

Creative destruction: a thinner ocean plate sides under a continental plate, melting and recycling the ocean crust into the Earth’s interior and birthing volcanoes in this illustration of subduction, a consequence of modern plate tectonics. Credit: Nikolas Midttun A handful of ancient zircon crystals found in South Africa hold the oldest evidence of subduction, a … Read more