The slow recycling of planetary crust was uncommon in the universe yet essential for the evolution of complex life. 1 It maintains not just habitability but high habitability. It's possible that life on earth would not have originated without plate tectonics, or the atmosphere, or the oceans. The world ocean passes through the rocky pores of the tectonic system, increasing nutrients in the biosphere and regulating a host of elements and compounds, including boron and calcium. Having plate tectonics is absolutely essential to maintaining stable climate conditions on earth. One vital cycle keeps adequate amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Though carbon dioxide is thought to cause excessive greenhouse-gas warming of the planet, an appreciable level is needed to keep the planet warm enough to support life. Otherwise, all the carbon dioxide would disappear and the planet would turn into a frozen ball.
Tectonic activity is critically necessary in order to support life on a planet. The movement of the tectonic plates allows for recycling of nutrients vital for sustaining life. Not only this, but water also plays an interesting role in this system as well. Water lubricates faults in order to minimize the size of earthquakes. But here’s the kicker; too much water is not good either. We need to have just the right amount. Research has allowed us to see that too much water actually lubricates the faults too much resulting in more numerous, albeit somewhat smaller earthquakes.
As bad as the effects of earthquakes are and the devastation they cause, they are critical for life. Earthquakes cause many deaths all over the world every year, but without them no one would be alive.
Earthquakes are a byproduct of plate tectonics, a theory in geology developed in recent years for explaining motions near the surface of the Earth. One of the benefits from plate tectonics is that Earth maintains the right levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere to compensate for the Sun’s increasing luminosity. This is accomplished by what is called the carbonate-silicate cycle. CO2 is removed from the atmosphere through weathering. The weathered products are eventually drawn into the Earth’s interior via plate tectonics. Processes inside the Earth’s interior release the CO2 back into the atmosphere via volcanoes. While all aspects of this mechanism are not yet fully understood, it has been instrumental in providing a stable environment for life.