Plate tectonics are the most significant geologic force on the planet. Responsible for both volcanoes and earthquakes, the movement of these giant plates has had the most evident effect on the shape of the earth’s surface both presently and throughout history. In addition, the theory of continental drift suggests that plate tectonics have been responsible for the shape and location of the continents as well.
I would agree with emcey except I would say that mangle convection is the most important process because it drives plate tectonics. It produces volcanoes and spurs hotspot magma releases. It does indeed have long term significances in terms of shaping the earth. During our lifetime, however, in the short geologic timeline, we don’t see much of plate tectonic action (mountain building, continental drift) save for earthquakes and island land mass increases. One could also say that the magnetic field is the most important geologic phenomenon since it is what drives magmatic convection, which then drives plate tectonics.
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