A tectonic plate was discovered in northern Canada. Scientists believe that the information obtained will help in predicting volcanic eruptions and finding mineral reserves.
Research published in GSA Bulletin. Today there are eight or nine major lithospheric plates (depending on the counting method, since the Indo-Australian plate is often divided into two) and several smaller ones. The existence of another slab has long been the subject of scientific controversy. Some believed that it never existed, others that it plunged into the earth’s mantle between 40 and 60 million years ago.
This hypothetical plate, called the Resurrection Plate, is said to have formed a special type of volcanic belt along Alaska and Washington state. It was supposed to be the third tectonic plate between the two main ones – known as Kula and Farallon – which have also practically disappeared.
Geologists at the University of Houston (USA) believe they have found a missing tectonic plate in northern Canada. In order to “see” it, they used topographic images of the mantle and computed tomography of the earth’s interior. In addition, the researchers applied the so-called plate unfolding and 3D mapping technology.
Thus, scientists were able to find out what the tectonic plates of the Pacific Ocean looked like in the early Cenozoic period, which began about 66 million years ago and continues to this day. On the border of the Pacific Ocean, as the authors of the work believe, the Resurrection Plate could have existed.
Its discovery, according to geologists, should help in predicting volcanic eruptions and mineral deposits. After all, volcanoes and outcrops of minerals are just located at the boundaries of tectonic plates.