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An important discovery – the discovery of a previously unknown tectonic plate

An important discovery – the discovery of a previously unknown tectonic plate

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Our planet still holds many secrets. A research team has now reconstructed a lost tectonic plate called Pontos.

Utrecht – In the long term, the Earth is constantly changing. Oceans disappear and reappear, continents collide and form or break apart. The former landmasses are now difficult to recognize and can only be found by experts.

A research team led by geologist Susanna van de Lagemaat (Utrecht University) has made an important discovery: the group has reconstructed a huge tectonic plate. The ocean plate, called the Pontus, was once about a quarter the size of the Pacific Ocean.

A research team has discovered the remains of an oceanic plate on the island of Borneo. (Avatar) © imago Images/Planet Observer\U

However, today most of the Pontus region has disappeared into the Earth’s mantle, and the remnants of plate tectonics are well hidden. Some of them sank into the Earth’s mantle through a process called subduction, leaving only small fragments on the surface. Van de Lagmaat was studying the world’s most complex plate tectonic zone when she discovered the first signs of Pontos.

Researcher finds remains of former ocean plate

“The Philippines lies in a complex nexus of different plate systems,” Van de Lagemaat explains in one of them A press release from your university. “The area consists almost entirely of oceanic crust, but some parts lie above sea level and contain rocks of very different ages.”

First, the scientist reconstructed the current plate movement in the area between Japan and the Philippines using geological data. “We also did fieldwork in northern Borneo, where we found the most important piece of the puzzle,” says van de Lagemaat. “We thought we were dealing with the remains of a lost record that we already knew about,” the researcher recalls. “But our magnetic laboratory studies on these rocks showed that our discoveries originally came from a plate located farther north, and must be the remains of another, previously unknown plate.”

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The Pontos painting was discovered in Borneo

“Eleven years ago we thought the remains of Pontos could be in northern Japan, but we have since disproved this theory,” says her PhD supervisor Douwe van Hinsbergen. It was only after Van de Lagemaat that half of the “Pacific Ring” was reconstructed by “Nar”. She would have discovered the Pontus record, says van Hinsbergen. “These included rocks we examined in Borneo.”

The research team also discovered parts of tectonic plates on the Philippine island of Palawan and in the South China Sea. One connected tectonic system extended from southern Japan to New Zealand, according to the study published in the journal Gondwana Research. This system must have existed for at least 150 million years, and this is also a new discovery. (unpaid bill)

Automated assistance was used in writing this article by the editorial team. The article was carefully examined by editor Tanya Banner before publication.