ArticlesPresent and Future Frontiers of the Sciences

The Earth and Planetary Sciences

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Science  04 Jul 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4452, pp. 96-104
DOI: 10.1126/science.209.4452.96


During the last two decades the earth sciences community has become persuaded that the earth is a dynamic body; an engine driven by its internal heat. The major surface manifestation of this dynamism has been fragmentation of the earth's outer shell and subsequent relative horizontal movement of the pieces on a large scale. The driving force is convection within the earth, but much remains to be learned about the nature of the convection and the composition of the earth's interior. The other terrestrial planets show evidence of once having been hot, but their surfaces suggest long-term stability and lack evidence of continuing convection.