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New map of Earth’s tectonic plates to help understand quakes, and volcanoes better

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Syllabus: Salient features of the world’s physical geography.

Context:

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, have carried out a new study that includes an updated map of the earth’s tectonic plates.

Plate Tectonic:  A tectonic plate, according to the United States Geological Survey, “is a massive, irregularly shaped slab of solid rock”, made up of lithosphere or the earth’s top layer. Tectonic plate movements often lead to earthquakes and volcanoes.

 

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Need:

  • This will help in forming a better understanding of natural hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes.
  • The plate model can be used to improve models of risks from geohazards; the orogeny model helps understand the geodynamic systems and better model Earth’s evolution and the province model can be used to improve prospecting for minerals

Techniques Used: To create the map, the team combined three geological models: a plate model based on already known plate boundaries, a province model based on the geology of Earth’s surface, and an orogeny model with areas deformed by mountain-building processes.

Changes: The new plate model includes several new microplates including the Macquarie microplate which sits south of Tasmania and the Capricorn microplate which separates the Indian and Australian plates.

 

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