Scientists have reconstructed a long-lost tectonic plate that may have given rise to an arc of volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean 60 million years ago.
The plate, dubbed Resurrection, has long been controversial among geophysicists, as some believe it never existed. But the new reconstruction puts the edge of the rocky plate along a line of known ancient volcanoes, suggesting that it was once part of the crust (Earth's top layer) in what is today northern Canada.
"Volcanoes form at plate boundaries, and the more plates you have, the more volcanoes you have," Jonny Wu, a geologist at the University of Houston, said in a statement. "Volcanoes also affect climate change. So, when you are trying to model the Earth and understand how climate has changed ... you really want to know how many volcanoes there have been on Earth."