How Earth’s surface morphs

Partly melted rock acts like grease to help huge masses of the planet’s surface slip up, around and down

By Kathiann Kowalski, 15:39 PM August 7, 2013

Earth moves constantly. It spins on its axis. It orbits the sun. Parts of Earth even move from the inside out — constantly changing our planet’s surface.

For billions of years, Earth has been remodeling itself. Huge masses of rock rise from deep inside Earth, travel along its surface and then sink back down. The process is known as plate tectonics.

We rarely see those changes as they happen. Yet plate tectonics affects everyone. It influences climate. It can trigger earthquakes or volcanic erup...

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