GRE Reading Comprehension: JiJing 352-GRE阅读机经352篇 - 168067M5EB5ZNMP5K

Many theorists now doubt that heat loss from Earth's core and radioactive decay are sufficient by themselves to produce all the energy driving the tectonic plates whose movements have helped shaped Earth's surface. This leaves a loose end in current geological theory. Herbert Shaw argues that because scientists have underestimated the input of substantial amounts of energy from extraterrestrial impactors (asteroids and comets striking Earth), they have difficulty accounting for the difference between the quantity of energy produced from sources intrinsic to Earth and that involved in plate tectonics. Whereas most geologists have treated the addition of energy through the bombardment of Earth's surface by such impactors as a process separate and independent from the movement of Earth's tectonic plates, Shaw asserts that these processes are indivisible. Shaw's revolutionary "open-system" view recognizes a continuum between terrestrial and extraterrestrial dynamics, whereas modern plate tectonic theory, like the classical geology developed during the nineteenth century, is founded on the view that Earth's geological features have changed through gradual, regular processes intrinsic to Earth, without reference to unique catastrophic events. Classical geology borrowed a decisive, if unspoken, premise from Newton – the independence of Earth's processes from any astronomical context.