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Lateral accelerations require lateral forces. We propose that force imbalances in the unique Earth-Moon-Sun system cause large-scale, cooperative tectonic motions. The solar gravitational pull on the Moon, being 2.2× terrestrial pull, causes lunar drift, orbital elongation, and an ~1000 km radial monthly excursion of the Earth-Moon barycenter inside Earth’s mantle. Earth’s spin superimposes an approximately longitudinal 24 h circuit of the barycenter. Because the oscillating barycenter lies 3500–5500 km from the geocenter, Earth’s tangential orbital acceleration and solar pull are imbalanced. Near-surface motions are enabled by a weak low-velocity zone underlying the cold, brittle lithosphere: The thermal states of...

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