Plate tectonics could be active on Earth since the beginning

A new study suggests that plate tectonics is a scientific theory, according to which the Earth is divided into large pieces of crust that slowly move the hot viscous mantle — could be active from the very beginning of the planet. The new findings refute previous hypothesis, according to which tectonic plates have evolved over billions of years. The work, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, has important implications for the fields of Geochemistry and Geophysics.

A better understanding of plate tectonics, for example, can help us understand whether planets outside our Solar system to be hospitable to life.

Plate tectonics: when she appeared?

“Plate tectonics has created the conditions for life,” Nick says, Dygert, associate Professor of Petrology and Geochemistry, Department of Earth and planetary Sciences. “The more we know about the ancient plate tectonics, the better we can understand how the Earth became the way it is now.”

For the study, Dygert and his team examined the distribution of two very specific noble gas isotopes: helium-3 and neon-22. The noble gases are those which do not react with any other chemical element.

Previous models have explained the current ratio of helium-3/neon-22 that series of large-scale attacks (such as those which resulted in the birth of our Moon) has led to the emergence of massive oceans of magma, which were degirolami and gradually increased the ratio.

But, Dygert believes this scenario is unlikely.

“Although there is no conclusive evidence that this does not happen, they could raise the ratio only under very specific conditions.”

Instead, Dygert and his team believe that the ratio of helium-3/neon-22 has grown differently.

As a continuous formation of the crust ratio of helium to neon in the mantle under the crust increased. By calculating this ratio in the mantle beneath the crust, and considering how this process would affect surround Land for long periods of time, it would be possible to establish the approximate time of occurrence of the tectonic cycle.

“Helium-3 and neon-22 was produced during the formation of the Solar system, and not as anyone else,” says Digert. “Thus, they give valuable insight into the early conditions of the Earth and subsequent geological activity.”

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