A plate tectonics failure: the geological cycle and conservation of continents and oceans

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    Abstract

    The rock cycle requires basalt of ocean floors and granitic rocks of the continents to be recycled. Plate tectonics explains the cycle by seafloor spreading driven by convection currents recycling basalt which re-appears at spreading sites, and subduction of sediments derived from continents to be re-incorporated in the continents. Arguments are presented that the rock cycle cannot produce new basalt for the oceans. Most continental erosion products are deposited in sites that preclude re-cycling. Quantification of erosion and uplift rates also cast doubts on the efficacy of plate tectonic mechanisms to recycle either continental or oceanic components of the Earth system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)427-436
    JournalAnnals of Geophysics
    Volume49
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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