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Articles on Continents

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Tharp with an undersea map at her desk. Rolled sonar profiles of the ocean floor are on the shelf behind her. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the estate of Marie Tharp

Marie Tharp pioneered mapping the bottom of the ocean 6 decades ago – scientists are still learning about Earth’s last frontier

Born on July 30, 1920, geologist and cartographer Tharp changed scientific thinking about what lay at the bottom of the ocean – not a featureless flat, but rugged and varied terrain.
Photographed on Kangaroo Island, this rock – called a ‘zebra schist’ – deformed from flat-lying marine sediments through being stressed by a continental collision over 500 million years ago. Dietmar Muller

How Earth’s continents became twisted and contorted over millions of years

Giant forces slowly move continents across a viscous layer of the Earth, like biscuits gliding over a warm toffee ocean. This stresses the continents, and twists and contorts the crust.
How many continents can you count on one hand? Chones

Continents may not have been created in the way we thought

From the 1950s until recently, we thought we had a clear idea of how continents form. Most people will have heard of plate tectonics: moving pieces on the surface of the planet that collide, pull away…

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