The geological plates of the Earth allow us to provide a map of the areas of the world that are most likely to suffer natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes, Volcanic eruptions and more.
Dr. Derrick Hasterok, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Adelaideled the team that produced the new models.
‘We look at current knowledge of the configuration of plate boundaries and the past construction of continental crust. The continents were assembled a few pieces at a time, a bit like a puzzle, but each time the puzzle was finished, it was cut and rearranged to produce a new image. Our study helps illuminate the various components so geologists can reconstruct earlier images.
“We found that plate boundaries represent almost 16 percent of the Earth’s crust and an even larger proportion, 27 percent, of the continents,” he said.
Professor Hasterok added that, “Our new model for plate tectonics better explains the spatial distribution of 90 per cent of earthquakes and 80 per cent of volcanoes over the last two million years, while existing models only capture 65 per cent of earthquakes and 80 per cent of volcanoes. percent of earthquakes.
The new plate model includes several new microplates, including the Macquarie microplate found south of Tasmania and the Capricorn microplate that separates the Indian and Australian plates.
‘To further enrich the model, we added more precise information about the boundaries of the deformation zones: previous models showed them as discrete areas rather than broad zones,’ said Dr Hasterok.
The scientist further argues that, “the biggest changes in the plate pattern have been in western North America, which often has the Pacific plate boundary drawn as the San Andreas and Queen Charlotte faults. But the newly delineated boundary is much wider, approximately 1,500 km, than the previously delineated narrow zone. The other big change is in Central Asia. The new model now includes all the deformation zones north of India as the plate pushes its way into Eurasia.”