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Core samples obtained from drilling revealed that rocks close to mid-ocean ridges are younger than rocks that are farther away from the ridges.Scientists created three-dimensional images of Earth's interior by combining information from many earthquakes using an approach similar to computed tomography (CT) scanning.A global network of sensors designed to detect hydroacoustic signals was installed to monitor compliance with the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty of 1963. Scientists later found that earthquakes and volcanic activity occur almost exclusively at the edges of tectonic plates.set sail on an exploration of the mid-ocean ridge between South America and Africa.These underwater mountain ranges encircling the planet form as Earth's plates separate. Hess developed the idea that oceanic crust forms along mid-ocean ridges and spreads out laterally away from the ridges. They noted that this would appear over geologic time as bands of crust that exhibit alternating patterns of magnetic polarity.

Tuzo Wilson in 1966, when he proposed that the Appalachian-Caledonide mountain belt of western Europe and eastern North America was formed by the destruction of a Paleozoic ocean that predated the Atlantic Ocean.

Flemish mapmaker Abraham Ortelius noted that the coastlines of the continents appear to fit together.

He suggested that the continents were once joined and that the Americas were "torn away" from Europe and Africa.

Other geoscientists, however, point out that these features are unlikely to be preserved in ancient orogenic belts or that their absence may be explained by the higher geothermal gradient that must have been present during much of the Precambrian.

Although thick sequences of marine sedimentary rocks up to 3.5 billion years old imply that oceanic environments did exist early in Earth’s history, virtually none of the oceanic crust that underlay these sediments has been preserved.

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Continued subduction resulted in the closure of this ocean sometime during the Silurian and Devonian periods (443.8 million to 358.9 million years ago).