The Discovery of Plate Tectonics: Background information when reading The Terraformers

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The Terraformers

by Annalee Newitz

The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz X
The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz
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  • Published:
    Jan 2023, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Katharine Blatchford
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About this Book

The Discovery of Plate Tectonics

This article relates to The Terraformers

Wegener's depiction of PangaeaIn Annalee Newitz's science fiction novel The Terraformers, characters threaten to trigger the development of plate tectonics on the planet Sask-E as a form of political leverage. The theory of plate tectonics has revolutionized our understanding of our planet and its geological processes. This theory states that the outer layer of Earth, known as the lithosphere, is not one unbroken piece but many "plates," which shift around on the asthenosphere beneath them. The movement of these plates as they crash into each other, pull apart, or move past each other causes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and over very long periods of time, forms mountains and oceans, and even moves continents.

Though there had been conjecture since the 16th century about how the continents had once been joined before drifting apart, Alfred Wegener, a German geophysicist, was one of the first to develop these observations into a complete theory. In 1912, he suggested that Earth once had one "supercontinent...

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