Blame plate tectonics for Earth’s mountains, earthquakes, volcanoes, and why its continents fit together like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle.
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.
Scientists have discovered a new volcanic complex near southwestern Italy caused by an unusual type of fault.
A gaping hole in a dying tectonic plate beneath the ocean along the West Coast of the United States may be wreaking havoc at Earth's surface, but not in a way most people might expect.
An International team of scientists finds evidence that Earth began recycling itself more than 3 billion years ago.
When Australia got too hot and dry, which killed off forests, these woodland creatures decided to live underground.
The breathtaking fictional landscapes of "Game of Thrones" had a tumultuous past that involved volcanic eruptions, mountain-building and entire continents splitting apart, scientists say.
Geoscientists tracking down reports of curious, out-of-place rocks on Anjouan island have found a mountain-size mystery.
An ancient supercontinent turned inside out as the Earth swallowed its own ocean some 700 million years ago, new research suggests.
As the now-iconic Andes Mountains rose skyward along the western coast of South America dozens of millions of years ago, violent volcanic activity rocked the continent, a new study finds.
When the U.S. Navy classified vital seafloor data during World War II and after, it delayed the development of a key theory.
A slippery layer beneath Earth stops chunks of crust in their tracks, creating "stagnant slabs" in the middle of the mantle.
Yes, California will have a big earthquake, but the chances of "the big one" happening now didn't suddenly increase.
Earth would look a lot more like Mars if a mysterious mineral wasn't sucking iron out of the planet's crust. Scientists think they now know the culprit — and it's a gemstone.