Pontus Plate: Scientists discover ghost of ancient mega-plate that disappeared 20 million years ago

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Source: The post is based on the article “Pontus Plate: Scientists discover ghost of ancient mega-plate that disappeared 20 million years ago” published in “Science Alert” on 17th October 2023

What is the News?

Scientists have rediscovered a long-lost tectonic plate named “Pontus Plate”.

What is a Pontus Plate?

The Pontus plate is a tectonic plate that disappeared about 20 million years ago.

It has been recently discovered in the West Pacific Ocean.

It has been named as Pontus Plate as it once existed beneath an ancient ocean known as the Pontus Ocean.

Features: The plate was formed at least 160 million years ago.

– It was approximately a quarter the size of the Pacific Ocean.

– It eventually disappeared as it was subducted beneath the Australian and Chinese plates.

Significance: This discovery provides insight into Earth’s geological history and plate movements.

What are Tectonic Plates?

Source: NCERT

A tectonic plate (also called lithospheric plate) is a massive, irregularly shaped slab of solid rock. It is generally composed of both continental and oceanic lithosphere.

A plate may be referred to as the continental plate or oceanic plate depending on which of the two occupy a larger portion of the plate. 

The Pacific plate is largely an oceanic plate whereas the Eurasian plate may be called a continental plate.

Important Major Plates: 1) Antarctica and the surrounding oceanic plate 2) Pacific plate 3) India-Australia-New Zealand plate among others.

Important Minor Plates: 1) Cocos plate : Between Central America and Pacific plate 2) Nazca plate : Between South America and Pacific plate 3) Arabian plate : Mostly the Saudi Arabian landmass 4) Philippine plate : Between the Asiatic and Pacific plate 5) Caroline plate : Between the Philippine and Indian plate (North of New Guinea) and 6) Fuji plate : North-east of Australia.

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