A long-lost tectonic plate that once underpinned what is today the South China Sea has been rediscovered 20 million years after disappearing. 

The plate is known only from a few rock fragments from the mountains of Borneo and the ghostly remnants of its huge slab detected deep in Earth’s mantle. It was once a quarter of the size of the Pacific Ocean. Scientists have dubbed it the “Pontus plate” because at the time of its existence, it sat under an ocean known as the Pontus Ocean. 



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