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A simplified model of the Earth's interior shows a thin layer of crust, seemingly surfing the hot deformable layer of the mantle, while scientists have long known that crust and mantle are inevitably linked, raising the question of what forces drive the tectonic plates mainly.
The hot center of planet Earth and its cold, hard outer sheath are both responsible for the movement of tectonic plates in an intriguing balance of power, new research reveals.
The flaming mantle creates supercontinents because the crust breaks them apart, according to scientists, who published their findings in the article "What drives the tectonic plates?" On October 30 in the journal Science Advances. [1
Over time, about 60 percent of the tectonic movement on the surface of this virtual planet was driven by rather shallow forces within the first 62 miles (100 kilometers) of the surface.
The deep convection of the mantle drives the remnant, the mantle being especially important when the continents have pushed out and formed the Supercontinent. Accordingly, shallow forces dominate when supercontinents disintegrate into the model.
What makes this study revolutionary is that "virtual Earth" is the first computer model to "view" the crust and mantle as an interconnected, dynamic system.  Previously, researchers made models of mantle-driven convection that adequately coincided with observations of the true mantle but did not do justice to the crust.
Models of plate tectonics in the crust may predict real-world observations of how plates move, but do not fit into mantle observations.
"Convection models were good for the mantle but not the plates. Slab tectonics were good for slates, but not for the mantle, "says Nicola Coltis, a professor at Ecole Normale Supérieure Graduate School, part of PSL University in Paris.
"And the whole story behind the evolution of the system is the feedback between the two."
One simple model of the Earth's interior shows in a hin layer of crust over a hot deformable layer of the mantle, the impression being that the crust is displaced by currents below.
In fact, however, scientists have long believed that crust and mantle are part of the same system, thus bringing to the fore the question of whether the forces on the surface or the forces deep in the mantle are mainly driving the movement of the tectonic plates that make up the crust.
Coltice and his colleagues discovered that two layers are so intertwined that they both contribute.
Over the last two decades Live Science quotes Coltis, researchers have been working on computer models that could represent the interactions between the crust and the mantle realistically.
In the early 2000s, some scientists developed heat-driven (convection) models in the mantle that were laborious and did not receive much follow-up work.
Coltice and his colleague Ues worked on their new version of the models for eight years, with the simulation itself taking 9 months.
Experts have created a virtual Earth with realistic parameters ranging from heat flux to the size of tectonic plates, to the length of time it takes the supercontinent to form and be propelled backwards.
The oceans – the vast interconnected waters that surround the continents
The model has flaws, Coltis said, because it does not track previous rock deformity, so rocks that have been deformed before are not prone to deform more easily in the future. its model, as it might happen in real life.
However, the model offers a realistic-looking virtual planet with areas of subduction, continental drift, and ocean ridges and trenches.
Researchers have also found that while mantle forces dominate when continents gather, hot mantle plum magma is not the main cause that causes continents to disintegrate.
Drivers here are areas of subduction: where one piece of crust is imposed under another
Looking to the future, Coltis said that the model and the real world should be bridges with observations, allowing the model to be used in exploring everything. rum major events of volcanism to how plate boundaries are formed and how the mantle moves in relation to Earth's rotation.