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The onset of modern plate tectonics

Thursday, 7 December 2023
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:
Lecture Room 407, Boyd Orr Building
University Avenue
Glasgow, G12 8QW United Kingdom

Professor Craig Storey, University of Portsmouth

Since the 1960s we have accepted the plate tectonic paradigm as being central to how our planet operates at the present day. However, there is much ongoing debate as to when plate tectonics began and how similar it was to the current observable mode. Hypotheses range from the Hadean to the Neoproterozoic and therefore span across profound changes in the Earth system, including atmospheric oxygenation and the proliferation of life. In this talk Craig will review (some of) the “hallmarks” of plate tectonics, their first appearance and secular evolution, and speculate on when it all began and how it evolved.

Further reading

Dhuime, B. et al (2012). A change in the geodynamics of continental growth 3 billion years ago. Science, 335, 1334-1336.

Palin, R.M. et al (2020). Secular change and the onset of plate tectonics on Earth. Earth Science Reviews, 207, 103172.

Stern, R.J. (2005). Evidence from Ophiolites, Blueschists and ultrahigh-pressure metamorphic terranes that the modern episode of subduction tectonics began in Neoproterozoic time. Geology, 33, 557-560.

Craig studied geology at Oxford Brookes University and was awarded a PhD by the University of Leicester in 2003 for his research on eclogites in the Glenelg-Attadale Inlier in NW Scotland. Between 2003 and 2009 he carried out research at the Natural History Museum, the University of Brighton, the Open University and Bristol University. In 2009 he became a senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth and has been professor of geology there since 2017.

Please note that this lecture will start at 19:30 rather than the usual 19:00. It will be preceded by two general meetings: a special general meeting to vote on the proposed new constitution and the society’s annual general meeting. These will start at 19:00.