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'Lost' Tectonic Plate Found Under California

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'Lost' Tectonic Plate Found Under California

Ever have one of those days when you can’t find anything: your keys, your cell phone or that darned Farallon tectonic plate? I’m happy to report some progress on the plate. The Farallon plate, what’s left of it, is just fragments of oceanic crust off the West Coast. The lost part was pushed east and subducted under the North American plate, probably accompanied by a ultra-ultra-low frequency, multi-million-year-long munching sound that can’t even be heard by elephants.

Scientists are now reporting they have found a big chunk of the Farallon plate still stuck in the subduction digestion system, so to speak, some 100 to 200 kilometers under California. The researchers explain it all in far more appropriate and scientific terms in a paper in this week’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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