The plate tectonic revolution, culminating with the formulation of the Wilson Cycle, took place over a period of less than a decade in the 1960s and early 1970s. The model provided a framework for understanding the formation of almost every type of mineral deposit then known on Earth, ranging from base and precious metal deposits associated with rifting, to porphyry Cu–Mo and epithermal Au deposits associated with subduction, and collision-related mesothermal Au deposits. By the end of the 1970s, satisfactory tectonic models for most of these deposit types had been established. Modern geological and economic geology research is largely built on these models, which have been expanded in detail but remain largely unchanged in concept and function.

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