Over 50 years ago the acceptance of plate tectonics led to a new paradigm in the Earth Sciences. As a result, we now better understand why earthquakes occur where they occur and how volcanoes are formed. However, the question of what defines a tectonic plate is still ambiguous. To better understand the formation of tectonic plates, nearly 80 ocean-bottom sensors were deployed for a year across the equatorial region of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This ambitious experiment is providing striking new images of plates and fresh insights into the forces that move them across the surface of the Earth.
The festival forms part of the public engagement activities of the Department of Physics at Oxford University.