Geoscientist Douwe van Hinsbergen will use the €1.5 million from his Vici grant to conduct research on the plate tectonic chain reaction collision that occurred some 50 million years ago. Van Hinsbergen will reconstruct the process that caused this chain reaction collision and how it spread across the world.
The outermost layer of Earth consists of the Earth’s crust, which together with fixed pieces of mantle is made up of different, slowly moving tectonic plates. Some 50 million years ago, nearly all of the tectonic plates shifted course, triggering the growth of formations such as the Andes and the Himalayas.
‘These regional events occurred throughout the entire world within a few million years, which suggests that a tectonic chain reaction took place,’ Van Hinsbergen says. ‘My Vici grant will allow me to investigate how and where the chain reaction began and how it spread across the rest of the world.’ This knowledge is key to understanding major natural disasters.