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 lifted the lid off North America, sharpening their view of the mysterious structures underneath the United States.
A new gravity map of Earth's seafloor fills in blanks and will reveal its geologic history in greater detail.
Continents move, but what got them going? A new computer model shows it was gravity. Whole continents flattened out under their own weight.
A major earthquake has struck Northern California's Bay Area, injuring dozens and causing widespread damage and power outages.
The "boring billion," the long evolutionary pause when slime ruled the Earth, might be due a planetary cooling-off period that stalled plate tectonics, a new study finds.
A new model seeks to explain why Earth's plate tectonics is unique among the sun's rocky planets. It all comes down to tiny minerals in rocks.
A battered diamond that survived a trip from "hell" confirms a long-held theory: Earth's mantle holds an ocean's worth of water.