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Neo-Tectonic: Processes That Shape the Earth

Neotectonic are processes that shaped the earth. Studying them will help us understand the attributes of the earth's interior



The earth's surface is complex and dynamic, its physical features continuously change from time to time. The processes responsible for changes in the physical features and structure of the earth are called the endogenetic and exogenetic processes. The endogenetic processes are processes that operate inside the earth’s surface and however, on the other, the exogenetic processes are the processes that operate outside the surface of the earth such as wind, temperature and rainfall. The processes that shape the land operate at varying intensity and time, resulting in the formation and deformation of the earth's surface, giving rise to complex and straightforward landforms.


In this context, the main processes that operate inside the earth are called neo-tectonic which are part of the endogenic processes. This process (Neo- tectonic) works inside the earth's surface resulting in the creation and destruction of different landforms through horizontal and vertical movements. This process has been operating for a long time; however, it was only during the late Cenozoic Era (Neogene Period) that Neo-tectonics was recognized. Presently, Neo-tectonic is defined as the study of young tectonic events that have occurred in a given region or are still occurring after its orogeny or after its last significant tectonic event.

The term 'Neo-tectonic' originated from two words, 'neo' and 'tectonic.' Neo has been derived from the Neogene Period, which means 'New Born' and tectonic processes acting to shape the earth's crust. Neo-tectonic is also called the Quaternary Movement; however, others regarded neo-tectonic as involving all tectonic activities that have been instrumental in forming the present-day topography. Neo-tectonics are part of the endogenetic processes which originate deep inside the earth's surface are still operating today, resulting in changing the physical landscape of the planet from time to time.


Research has revealed that Neo- tectonic was very active during the Neogene period. This period marks the Era of the 'New Born' where the mountains rose, the sea level fell, and there was a rapid change in the climate from remarkable to dry, compelling different species to adapt or die to such changes. The active operation of the Neo-tectonic resulted in the drifting and crashing of the continents resulting in the creation of different mountain systems of the world. For example, South America moved to the north, merging with North America, forming the Isthmus of Panama.

The Neogene period also marks the global climatic changes that paved the way for the arctic ice to grow and thicken. Snow and ice fell on high mountains locking up water to the ocean resulting in a decrease in the sea level and exposing the land bridge between Eurasia and North America and between Eurasia and Africa. Such changes affected the hydrological cycle, the bio-geo-chemical cycle and the different components which depend on it.

Neo-tectonic processes are responsible for the formation and deformation of the earth's surface and ocean floor. But they are also responsible for creating Geo-hazards such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tsunami, which bring significant changes to the earth's surface and cause immense damage to human lives, properties, and activities. Further, the dynamic characteristics of the Neo-tectonic have created an interest amongst the scientists and scientific communities to study them and how they operate in the earth's interior.

At present, scientists are studying Neo-tectonics with the present and advance technology to understand how such processes affect (a). The morphology and the sinuosity of rivers. (b). The lithological and the geological structure and any Geo-hazards' occurrence accumulation of petroleum and other natural resources inside the earth's interior. Scientists are making an effort to predict any Geo-hazards' occurrence by studying how these processes behave inside the earth's interior to detect; these processes' behaviour these processes' behaviour places frequently affected by the Neo-tectonic are being monitored, mapped, and study to acquire more data about these processes' behavior.

Neo-tectonic which is part of the complex dynamic endogenic processes is a primary process that operates inside the earth and changes the earth's surface and its physical features from time to time, giving each place a unique identity and landscape. Hence, it is essential to study the Neo-tectonic processes and gain in-depth knowledge about them and observe what changes do they bring to the surface of the earth from time to time.

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