Plate tectonics is relatively new, put forth in the last 30 years or so — its forerunner was the now-discarded continental drift theory. The theory states that Earth's outer shell is made up of huge slabs of rock called plates that glide over the planet's inner layer, or mantle. As these plates shift, they sometimes collide with other plates, making for some interesting, and even deadly, results on Earth's surface, from erupting volcanoes, to earthquakes, to new mountain ranges. Here's a look at Live Science's news and features related to this constantly moving jigsaw puzzle.
Latest about plate tectonics
Watch 'unprecedented' animation showcasing 100 million years of Earth history
By Stephanie Pappas published
A new model shows how the planet's surface evolved over the past 100 million years, from the shifting of tectonic plates to the movement of sediments.
Fault lines: Facts about cracks in the Earth
By Becky Oskin last updated
Faults in the Earth are categorized into three general groups based on the sense of slip, or movement, that occur along them during earthquakes.
Did Mount Everest Really Shrink? Scientists Measure Peak Again
By Tia Ghose last updated
Scientists in India are planning to measure Mount Everest again, in order to settle the question of whether it shrank in the last earthquake.
Scientists figure out what happens to Earth's disappearing crust
By Yasemin Saplakoglu last updated
Earth's outer shell is made of rocky rafts that dive beneath each other. The diving plates weaken, but do not break, according to a new study.
New Study Describes How Earth's Surface Moves
By Brett Israel last updated
Study explains western North America's present-day landscape.
Evidence of 'modern' plate tectonics dating to 2.5 billion years ago found in China
By Laura Geggel last updated
Earth scientists in China have found evidence of a subduction zone dating to 2.5 billion years ago.
What's Happening Under Gibraltar?
By Crystal Gammon last updated
Small subduction zone may be behind Great Lisbon Earthquake.
Earth's Conveyor Belts Trap Oceans of Water
By Becky Oskin last updated
At subduction zones, where one plate bends deep beneath another, the sinking plate can carry more than an ocean's worth of water into the mantle over billions of years.
A hidden continent birthed a new subduction zone near New Zealand
By Stephanie Pappas last updated
A new subduction zone south of New Zealand formed when tectonic forces brought a segment of weakened continental crust from the submerged continent of Zealandia next to denser oceanic crust.
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