We think that the ground we stand on is stable and always going to be there, but a new study suggests our plate (the North American plate) is not as stable as we once thought.
We know the Earth is capable of producing new islands out of the deep blue by underwater volcanoes, but how about the continents? How do we get new mountains and land forming where land already is in place? The answer is by plates colliding and moving land up and down and spreading it across the Earth.
There are stable land masses on Earth, these are known as cratons. The craton underneath North America however is not as stable we we once thought it was.
'It became apparent that the lower part of the cratonic root was shifted by about 850 kilometers [530 miles].' The research, led by Mikhail Kaban, is published in Nature Geoscience.
This study looked at the craton's root below the surface, about 125 miles below. It showed that North American's craton shifts about .15 inches a year, more than most stable regions. This does seem very slow but over hundreds of millions of years (a small time frame for the planet) it adds up to over 500 miles.
There is no need to worry though. We should not lose any ground anytime soon.
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