Tectonics

Definition

Tectonics is the study of the structural geology of the Earth and other planetary bodies, and the local and regional processes that created that rock geometry. This includes the movements of the Earth’s tectonic plates that result in the creation, destruction and rearrangement of the Earth’s crust and lithosphere.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The processes that form and recycle continental crust have changed through time. Numerical models reveal an evolution from extensive recycling on early Earth as the lower crust peeled away, to limited recycling via slab break-off today.

    • Valentina Magni
  • Editorial |

    Natural disasters can devastate local communities. However, these rare events also often trigger new ways of thinking, and provide a treasure trove of data that must be used to reduce vulnerability.

  • News and Views |

    Unlike Earth, Venus lacks discrete, moving plates. Analogue model experiments suggest that observed hints at plate recycling do indeed indicate current, localized destruction of the Venusian surface.

    • Fabio Crameri
    Nature Geoscience 10, 330–331
  • News and Views |

    Over 70% of the volcanism on Earth occurs beneath an ocean veil. Now, robotic- and fibre-optic-based technologies are beginning to reveal this deep environment and identify subaqueous volcanoes as rich sources of sulfur, carbon dioxide and life.

    • Deborah Kelley
    Nature Geoscience 10, 251–253
  • News and Views |

    The geological record preserves scant evidence for early plate tectonics. Analysis of eclogites — metamorphic rocks formed in subduction zones — in the Trans-Hudson mountain belt suggests modern-style subduction may have operated 1,800 million years ago.

    • Clare Warren
    Nature Geoscience 10, 245–246