The Birth of Plate Tectonics The new hypotheses of the early 1960s explained several puzzling sets of observations. All that remained was a synthesis of these hypotheses.
The synthesis began in 1965 when Tuzo Wilson introduced the term plate for the broken pieces of the Earth's lithosphere. In 1967, Jason Morgan proposed that the Earth's surface consists of 12 rigid plates that move relative to each other. Two months later, Xavier Le Pichon published a synthesis showing the location and type of plate boundaries and their direction of movement. Since the mid-1960s, the plate tectonic model has been rigorously tested. Because the model has been successfully tested by numerous methods, it is now called the plate tectonic theory and is accepted by almost all geologists.