GDB1 | Plate motions were constant through geological time
Plate motions were constant through geological time
Convener: Nicholas T. Arndt | Co-conveners: Susanne Buiter, Sabin Zahirovic
Tue, 16 Apr, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)
Room E1
Tue, 14:00
Is the velocity of tectonic plate movement constant, or does it fluctuate through geological time? Does the rate of seafloor spreading vary at individual mid-ocean ridges? Is there a link between plate velocity, subduction flux and the magmatic flare-ups in convergent margins? Could the peaks in global spectra of U-Pb zircon ages record periods of accelerated mantle convection leading to faster subduction? How realistic are models of rifting or subduction that assume constant plate motion?

The panelists will debate the motion that plate motions are constant. To support their arguments they will draw on observational and physical arguments spanning the full range of solid-earth disciplines. We explicitly encourage audience participation.

The debate is in Oxford Union style:

1)  Introduction of the motion

2) 1st speakers of the teams argue the motion

3) Team discussion

4) 2nd speakers of the teams rebut the arguments of the other team

5) Questions from the audience

6) Final statements

Session assets

Session materials


  • Boris Kaus, Johannes-Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
  • Alexandre Janin, Boston College, United States of America
  • Andres Rodríguez Corcho
  • Colleen Dalton, Brown University, United States of America