Earth's past gives clues to future changes

November 24, 2011
Model of the Nazca oceanic plate subduction underneath South American continent - leading to the formation of the Andes

( -- Scientists are a step closer to predicting when and where earthquakes will occur after taking a fresh look at the formation of the Andes, which began 45 million years ago.

Published today in Nature, research led by Dr Fabio Capitanio of Monash University's School of describes a new approach to . It is the first model to go beyond illustrating how plates move, and explain why.

Dr Capitanio said that although the theory had been applied only to one so far, it had broader application.

Understanding the forces driving will allow researchers to predict shifts and their consequences, including the formation of mountain ranges, opening and closing of oceans, and earthquakes.

Dr Capitanio said existing theories of plate tectonics had failed to explain several features of the development of the world's longest land-based mountain chain, motivating him to take a different approach.

"We knew that the resulted from the subduction of one plate, under another; however, a lot was unexplained. For example, the subduction began 125 million years ago, but the mountains only began to form 45 million years ago. This lag was not understood," Dr Capitanio said.

"The model we developed explains the timing of the Andes formation and unique features such as the curvature of the mountain chain."

Dr Capitanio said the traditional approach to plate tectonics, to work back from data, resulted in models with strong descriptive, but no predictive power.

"Existing models allow you to describe the movement of the plates as it is happening, but you can't say when they will stop, or whether they will speed up, and so on.

"I developed a three-dimensional, - I used physics to predict the behaviour of tectonic plates. Then, I applied data tracing the Andes back 60 million years. It matched."

Collaborators on the project were Dr Claudio Faccenna of Universita Roma Tre, Dr Sergio Zlotnik of UPC-Barcelona Tech, and Dr David R Stegman of University of California San Diego. The researchers will continue to develop the model by applying it to other subduction zones.

Explore further: Australian discovery solves mystery of the Andes

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1 / 5 (5) Nov 24, 2011
Thanks for the story.

1. Earth's past began when iron-rich supernova debris started to accrete into Earth's core as an object orbiting a pulsar:

2. Earth and the other terrestrial planets accreted in layers from layered supernova debris. Only the outer part melted to form the crust, oceans and atmosphere:

The noble gas record of the terrestrial planets", Geochemical Journal 15, 247-267 (1981)


3. The Sun formed mostly from iron-rich debris orbiting the pulsar core, but that is hidden from view by the glowing sphere of waste products from the pulsar (91% H & 9% He)

"Neutron Repulsion", The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011)

4. Earth's climate has changed as the Sun itself has changed - from a pulsar into an ordinary star.

"Earth's Heat Source - The Sun"
E & E 20, 131-144 (2009)

1 / 5 (5) Nov 24, 2011
The current demise of our society was probably triggered by seeds of fear planted in world leaders by the vaporization of Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945 and later nourished by this message from USSR's Khrushchev to USA's President Kennedy on 24 Oct 1962:

They apparently secretly decided to unite nations against an imaginary enemy - AGW.

The main issue now is finding a way to undo the damage inflicted on society from 4-5 decades of manipulated science:



Today I am grateful a Power greater than scared world leaders controls the universe!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oliver K. Manuel
1 / 5 (2) Nov 26, 2011
Of what possible value is the ability to predict, even generally, tectonic movements over geologic time?
3 / 5 (2) Nov 26, 2011
Oliver Manuel's recent efforts to plaster and other public news sites with his theories and personal URLs are a bit puzzling, as scientists have a variety of publications available to communicate directly to each other in. My best guess is that he is desperately trying to prop up his legacy in light of his arrest in his university office on 7 charges of rape and sodomy based on allegations by 4 of his own children. The charges have been reduced to one count of felony attempted sodomy, not necessarily because of his innocence, but because of the statute of limitations. One can only guess how the recent charges and decades of family strife have affected his ability to reason rationally and to remain objective while defending his unpopular theories.


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