If you've ever studied plate tectonics, you know that dry land on earth was once a giant supercontinent, then it separated into plates that began moving away from each other. But how did that get started? It could be the same way you ruined Mom's serving dish by treating it as a baking dish.
In a new study, led by planetary scientist Alexander Webb at the University of Hong Kong, in collaboration with an international team of researchers, scientists have come up with a new idea to explain why Earth's crust cracked into pieces.
According to the study, the early Earth's outer shell, or lithosphere, heated up, which caused it to expand and crack. This might seem like a simple explanation, but it contradicts many earlier theories.
(Image credit: US Geological Survey)