A team of researchers has found that the North American plate had moved about 10” or 24.6 cm every year about 1.1 billion years back. The study on the North American tectonic plate was headed by Aleksey Smirnov, a Geophysicist from the Michigan Technological University. The team had made the discovery while working on another problem connected with the issue.
Researchers’ discovery corroborates an earlier theory on plate movement
For the study, the researchers also examined rocks found at Coldwell Complex, Ontario. Examining the magnetization record of the fossil, the team concluded that it was the North American Plate and not the earth’s magnetic field that was travelling at high speed. The team’s discovery has only served to corroborate an earlier premise that the North American continent moved at much higher speed about a billion years ago.The team found mantle activity as the chief cause behind the fast movement.
Active mantle responsible for the 10” move of the North American Plate
One of the layers of the Earth, the mantle, is located between the earth’s core and its crust, highlighting the reason for such a vigorous activity Smirnov said, “We had a very vigorous mantle at that time, and that would move this huge continental plate.” Smirnov’s team also provided an explanation to better elaborate its findings. The researchers declared that since the different landmasses were joining together to form Rodinia the supercontinent, an active Earth’s mantle only served to bring the different continental plates much more closer at a heightened pace.Even though oceanic plates at that point of time would travel at a faster rate than the continental plates,the 10” movement was much higher than the usual pace at which continental plates moved on the earth’s surface at that point of time.