Plate tectonics: Flat Earth has slowed evolution – the spectrum of science

Earth is a dynamic planet: its continental plates have been wandering since their existence, pushing each other outwards and into each other, causing mountain ranges to rise in the event of collisions and open up gaping cracks in the oceans from behind. But once upon a time, over a period of nearly a billion years, there was apparently a strange lull during the formation of the mountain formation: in the Middle Ages about 1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago the movement of tectonic plates slowed and stopped. With obvious consequences, because ultimately land masses around the world were fairly flat after wind and weather made all of the ancient mountain masses disappear through erosion. This could potentially lead to a chain reaction with consequences for life in the ocean, ushering in a stage that was notorious for evolutionary biologists and geologists, and which Chinese researchers have now managed to narrow down in the specialized journal Science.

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