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Until relatively recently the explanation for mountain ranges, earthquakes, and volcanoes was the domain for spiritual leaders and mythologists. Such events as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were the doings of angry gods. However, during the first half of the 20th century geologists proposed—and ultimately verified—the theory that the earth’s surface has changed radically over the planet’s history and that indeed it continues to change today.

Our continents slide across the earth’s surface riding on tectonic plates, which are dragged about by powerful convection currents inside the planet’s crust. Where plates bump into each other we get mountains and earthquakes, and where they slip and grind we get volcanoes.

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