Suppose that we reran Earth from two billion years ago changing the position of one atom. Would the continents drift to positions completely different from those today?

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    $\begingroup$ Not sure why a vote to close, it's a somewhat interesting question. Meteorology constantly gets the chaos theory question... it's always a bit abstract/poorly defined... but how stable/unstable is a system? I would figure with the scale of things (giant masses and their importance) that small changes in plates would tend to be relatively stable, but it would be interesting to hear some perspective on it. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 26, 2022 at 3:40
  • $\begingroup$ a single atom is insignificant over the a 2 billion year time frame of plate tectonics. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Mar 27, 2022 at 3:31
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    $\begingroup$ Basically, how big are the Lyapunov exponents of the plate tectonic system? At least I have seen papers on the central dynamo dynamics producing values for those exponents, and in principle answering the "single atom" question. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 14:12


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