"Before the 1964 earthquake, we did not have a unifying theory of how the earth works," said Peter Hauessler, a USGS research geologist. "The 1964 earthquake was the first time people understood that there were places called subduction zones that produce these really enormous earthquakes."
is now a widely accepted model that explains everything from why
earthquakes happen to how mountains grow. The model says that Earth's
surface is divided into stiff slabs of crust called plates. The oceanic
plates are born and grow at mid-ocean ridges, the long underwater
volcanic chains that wind around the Earth like seams on a baseball.
Evidence for this growth was first published in 1963 — progressively
older magnetic stripes on the seafloor record spreading away from the
end partial quote from:
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