It hit about 600 million years ago when an ancient African crustal plate
collided with the North America plate creating the Lake Char fault.
More recently, it's been suggested that they are the result of cracks in the crustal plate
through which magma leaks.
An analysis of the crustal plate
that Antarctica sits on would be a product of this part of his research and would also result in a significant publication for this young scientist.
But I doubt that you, I or Mr Woods could influence the movement of a crustal plate
on its long interminable journey, or stop a volcano from erupting.
It's a little easier in places like Costa Rica, where the Cocos crustal plate
dives down quite close to the Nicoya pen insula.
But we have explored with submersibles or remotely operated vehicles less than one percent of this fascinating zone of crustal plate
creation where more than 90 percent of the earth's volcanic activity rumbles on.
Such island chains apparently formed when a "hot spot" -- a plume of hot rock rising from the planet's interior -- broke through the crustal plate
It's part of the very active "Ring of Fire," a zone of major crustal plate
clashes that surround the Pacific Ocean.
But the largest quakes in the history of the contiguous United States have actually hit the supposed stable heartland, far from the edges of the crustal plate
that carries North America.
These great fractures in the Earth mark an area where the northwest-moving Pacific crustal plate
grinds past the North American plate.
According to plate-tectonic theory the oceanic crustal plate
carrying the islands would have disappeared gradually beneath thicker continental crust, eventually rafting the islands into collision with the continent and depositing the once-submerged rocks on what is now the west coast of Norway.
Their findings, they say, will contribute to earthquake prediction models, a greater understanding of crustal plate
movement, the search for hidden mineral resources and the effort to find sites appropriate for nuclear waste disposal in the earth's crust.