Samoan scientists to discuss third Pacific tectonic plate

The Samoa Meteorological Service (S.M.S.) will soon meet to discuss the implications of the apparent discovery of a new third tectonic plate in the Pacific Ocean: ‘Resurrection’.

A Senior Scientific Officer at the Geoscience Section of the S.M.S., Aliimalemanu Malaefatu Leavasa, said the meteorologists will share their views on ‘Resurrection’, a plate that many geologists had previously doubted existed. 

Other geologists say the plate subducted—moved sideways and downward—into the earth’s mantle somewhere in the Pacific Margin between 40 and 60 million years ago.

But a team of geologists at the University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics believes they have found the lost plate in northern Canada by using existing mantle tomography images, according to a statement from the university. 

That process was similar to running an internal scan of the earth's interior, according to the scientific news site

"Volcanoes form at plate boundaries, and the more plates you have, the more volcanoes you have," Jonny Wu, the University of Houston’s assistant professor of geology in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences said in the statement. 

"Volcanoes also affect climate change. So, when you are trying to model the earth and understand how climate has changed since time, you really want to know how many volcanoes there have been on earth."

The findings, published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin, could help geologists better predict volcanic hazards.

The Earth’s shell is broken into tectonic plates. Geologists have always known there were two plates in the Pacific Ocean: Kula and Farallon. 

The Houston team believes they have direct evidence that the third plate exists. 

Aliimalemanu, the senior scientific officer at the Geoscience Section of the local Met Office told the Samoa Observer his team will require some time to discuss news of the tectonic plate discovery.

Scientists overseas will also be consulted about the 'Resurrection' plate. 

Samoa is positioned in between the Pacific Plate and the Australian-Indian Plate 

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