Dr. Jeremy Hall of the Department of Earth Sciences studies the structure of the Earth's crust and the tectonics of plate motions. One of the Dr. Hall's research interests is the opening of the Atlantic Ocean over 100 million years ago. New oceans open by splitting apart an old continent and gradually, the ocean gets wider with time. The process of the Atlantic Ocean's opening is still on-going. That activity is now occurring on the mid-ocean ridge, a couple of thousand kilometres from Newfoundland. When the opening started, the sedimentary basins that host most of Newfoundland's petroleum resources formed as part of the rifting process.