Wilson cycle

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Wilson cycle

n.
The cyclical opening and closing of ocean basins caused by movement of the earth's plates.

[After John Tuzo Wilson (1908-1993), Canadian geophysicist.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This collection and dispersion of the continents is known as a supercontinent cycle, and the world is now 180m years into the current cycle.
From experiments with computer models which can simulate the tides with great accuracy, we know that the tides were weak for long periods of the current supercontinent cycle, because the shape and size of the basins couldn't support large tides.
Topics include Precambrian tectonics and the supercontinent cycle, implications of plate tectonics for environmental change, large igneous provinces, rifted continental margins, ocean ridges, continental transforms, subduction zones, and many organic examples.
A complete record of mafic magmatism provides critical constraints, not only on such questions as the nature of flood volcanism or the supercontinent cycle through time, but also on geochemical fluxes, geodynamics, core and mantle evolution, global climate evolution, major extinction events, major impact events, the evolution of sedimentary basins, and strategic mineral resources.
"If correct, corollaries to the theory suggest the supercontinent cycle controls the global climate and, ultimately, probably the history of life itself," Hoffman says.
At longer time-scales, plate tectonic activity appears quasi-periodic and self-organizes into the supercontinent cycle (e.g., Schuiling, 1973; Anderson, 1982; Gurnis, 1988).
A complete record of mafic magmatism (ages, periodicities, rates, volume estimates, geochemical fluxes, spatial distribution, structural trends, evolving isotope and trace element ratios, paleomagnetic information, associated ore deposits, etc.) will provide critical constraints on issues as diverse as paleogeographic reconstructions and the supercontinent cycle; the triggers of past climate extremes; complex Earth systems through time; crustal growth, core and mantle evolution; evolution of the core dynamo; causes of flood volcanism, and the potential relationships with extinction events; the hypothesized relationship between flood volcanism and large impact events; and, last but not least, the discovery of new ore deposits of strategic minerals.
DN: We first presented the concept of supercontinent cycles at a meeting in San Francisco in 1982 of the American Geophysical Union.