Brace yourself for surprising plate tectonics facts.
The theory of plate tectonics—that Earth’s surface is shaped and affected by deep geological plates moving around—is really only about fifty years old in its current form. For what now seems like (sorry) bedrock knowledge about why things like earthquakes happen, that isn’t terribly old at all. Jerry Lee Lewis had been singing “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” for over a decade before earth science had a unifying theory on what all that shaking was about.
Getting to that unified theory took decades of heated exchanges between “mobilists” and “fixists,” competing hypotheses about what was inside the Earth’s mantle, and evolving technologies that helped science to fill in the gaps in our understanding about what's going on below the surface.