Seeing back into geological history is an intellectually exciting but often difficult exercise. The modern paradigm of Plate Tectonics explains much of what we see in the Earth’s oceanic and continental crust. The paradigm is underpinned by a whole variety of geophysical, structural, petrological, geochemical and geochronological data. Geologists who try to look far back into Early Earth history ask when did plate tectonics as we know it today commence. Was it at the Archaean–Proterozoic boundary, during the late Archaean or even earlier? The incomplete Archaean rock record is an unreliable witness and hence the argument continues. Many undergraduates might...

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