NZ Herald/NZPA: Geologists show how NZ and Australia broke apart

A mathematical model which was created to show how Australia and New Zealand originally broke apart suggests the same process may currently be happening in South America.

Australia and New Zealand began breaking up over 100 million years ago, when the rate of descent of descent between the Pacific and Gondwana plates slowed, causing the mountain range along Gondwana’s east coast to collapse in a process which ended up splitting the two countries apart.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“According to Professor Rey, a similar situation is being played out under South America, where the Pacific plate’s descent has slowed from 25cm a year to about 7cm over the past 20 million years.

“”If the velocity of the Pacific plate and the South American plate continue to decrease, then the [Andes] will start to collapse and parts of South America will move away from the mainland.””