Geodynamics—Where Are We and What Lies Ahead?

Science  03 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4503, pp. 15-22
DOI: 10.1126/science.213.4503.15


The introduction and evolution of the plate tectonics hypothesis during the past two decades has sparked the current renaissance of research in the earth sciences. An outgrowth of active geophysical and geological exploration of the oceans, the plate tectonics model has come under intense scrutiny by geologists, geochemists, and geophysicists who have attempted to apply the model to the origin and growth of continents, the generation of oceanic and continental crust, and the nature of the lithosphere, asthenosphere, and underlying mantle with respect to their evolution through time and to the driving mechanism or mechanisms for plate tectonics. The study of other terrestrial planets and moons has been helpful in understanding the earth model. The unequal distribution of geological features, both in the continents and oceans, emphasizes the need for ongoing studies of international scope such as the recently completed International Geodynamics Project and its successor, the International Lithosphere Program, both stressing studies related to the dynamics of the lithosphere.