Plate Tectonics May Have Begun a Billion Years After Earth’s Birth
Precisely what Earth looked like before plate tectonics, which drive these chunks of crust around, bumping and grinding into one another, is an open question. During the Archean eon 4 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, there was water and rock on Earth, but little oxygen in the atmosphere.
Whatever the Earth looked like before plate tectonics, these powerful forces define the world as it is today. The diving and crashing of tectonic plates not only created the continents we know and live upon today, it also recycles minerals and nutrients through Earth’s system.