A tectonic plate that disappeared 60 million years ago under the Pacific Ocean was reconstructed by scientists at the University of Houston.
About The Plate
The plate is called Resurrection, and it was a controversial topic among geologists, as many think it never existed.
Some say that it might have directly resulted in the Pacific Ocean’s volcanoes, currently known as the Ring of Fire.
Jonny Wu, the study’s co-author and assistant professor of geology from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said that volcanoes form at plate boundaries. The more plates there are the more volcanoes form.
“Volcanoes also affect climate change. So, when you are trying to model the earth and understand how climate has changed since time, you really want to know how many volcanoes there have been on earth,” he added.
The researchers used computer modeling to recreate the plates from the early Cenozoic era, which started about 66 million years ago, soon after the mass extinction that ended the dinosaurs.
At that time, there were two tectonic plates in the Pacific Ocean, The Farallon, and the Kula. Those plates slid underneath the planet’s crust a long time ago. That process is called subduction.
In 2013, a group of researchers discovered evidence that Farallon still exists in the central California area and Mexico.
A lot of magma can be found in the modern-day Alaska and Washington state that some geologists believe is the result of a lost tectonic plate, and the volcanoes surrounding it are solid proof of that.
Solving such mysteries of the past helps better understand the evolutionary process of our planet.