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Plate tectonics and tectonic generalisations

V. V. Beloussov


he theory of plate tectonics is one of the dominant modern concepts, which has been accepted rapidly and without particular reflection or reserve. Unlike in the preceding tradition, the new global concept soon permeated all regional geologic studies no matter what the scale. The aim of plate tectonics is to produce quantitative models of processes going on in the Earth’ s interior. Instead of historical concepts, plate tectonics has introduced the idea of "geodynamic settings", which no longer have historical-geological connotations but rather geomorphological implications. The reason for these peculiarities is that the theory appeared during the study of a subject previously unknown: the ocean floor. Yet, when plate tectonics moved beyond the ocean’ s boundaries onto the continents, its inability to assimilate the enterely new material became obvious. The new concepts of plate tectonics, with paleomagnetism as the basic method, the reasons for the popularity of this new dogma, and how it has to be revised in order to obtain a global theory of the Earth’ s interior, are discussed in the present work.