WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The swirl of malleable rock in the earth's mantle -- located between the earth's crust and core -- may have greater effect on the earth's surface than was once believed, a Purdue research team reports. Using computer technology to create three-dimensional models of the earth's mantle, Purdue's Scott King has found evidence that some dramatic features of the earth's surface could be the result of relatively rapid shifts in the direction in which crustal plates move. Rather than simply drifting along in straight lines over millions of years, plates can be pushed aside or even be made to reverse direction due to convection in the mantle far beneath them.
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