The Types of Plate Tectonics Essay

Introduction, types of plate tectonics, works cited.

Plate tectonics refers to movements on Earth’s surface, that is, the lithosphere. This is a theory in science explaining such movements. The lithosphere is made up of large broken rock masses also referred as tectonic plates (Oreskes 424). These tectonic plates are suspended on molten layer of Earth’s crust that comes immediately below the lithosphere; this layer is called asthenosphere.

Given that the asthenosphere is molten, these plates move on it with ease. The movement occurs at boundaries namely; transform boundaries, divergent and convergent boundaries (Oreskes 16). These three different boundaries give rise to the different forms of plate tectonics known today.

According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), there are three different types of plate movements; that is, divergent, convergent, and lateral plate slipping resulting from the three different plate boundaries that exist. Divergent plate movements occur when two oceanic plate move away from each other to form new oceanic crust at a zone of divergence. The zone of divergence results as the Earth’s crust separates (Earth Science). The separation results from hot magma arising from the magma in the continental mantle. This magma has large pressure that causes the crust to crack and separate.

Convergent plate movements are the opposite of divergent and it occurs when two oceanic plates collide leading to loss of crust at a convergent point. Convergent movements involve collision between two plates and these two plates may be either continental or oceanic (USGS).

Convergent plate movements come after divergent plate movements because after the plates break up in the latter, they meet at another point and collide hence the subduction. On the other hand, lateral slipping occurs when two plates move in opposite direction slipping over each other at a transform boundary. The two plates eventually jerk apart due to pressure that mounts up in the mantle and this causes earthquakes (USGS).

The movement of these plates is facilitated by the fact that they float on the Earth’s molten magma on the region called asthenosphere, which lies, below lithosphere. As aforementioned, lithosphere is the outermost Earth’s crust that human beings can reach. Actually, lithosphere makes the tectonic plates (Rychert and Shearer 496). The molten magma heats up as the core of the Earth heats up which causes convectional currents within the molten magma. As the earth core cools, the molten magma cools and sinks and in the process, it pulls the plates attached to it hence the plate movement.

Earthquakes results from these plate tectonic movements along fault lines. Fault lines are cracks on lithosphere. As tectonic plates move, there is building up of pressure along the fault lines, and when this pressure exceeds the strength of lithosphere, earthquakes result to relieve the pressure mounting in the lithosphere. According to Rychert and Shearer, the lateral plate slipping form of movement is the one that causes many earthquakes around the world (498).

Plate tectonics describes the movement of fragments formed from broken lithosphere.

These fragments are suspended on the asthenosphere, which is molten hence offering good medium of movement. There are three different types of plate tectonics, that is, convergent, divergent, and lateral slipping. These movements cause earthquakes as the lithosphere releases mount up pressure in the Earth’s mantle. Earthquakes result mainly from lateral slipping moving and this occurs along fault lines, which are weak points on the lithosphere.

Earth Science. “Plate Tectonics.” Moorland School. N.d. Web.

Oreskes, Naomi. “Plate Tectonics: An Insider’s History of the Modern Theory of the Earth.” California: Westview Press, 2003.

Rychert, Catherine, & Shearer, Peter. “A Global View of the Lithosphere-Asthenosphere Boundary.” Science Journals. 324(5):5926. 2009.

United States Geological Survey. “ Understanding Plate Motions .” 1999. Web.

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Virunga mountains

Plate Tectonics

The Earth's plates jostle about in fits and starts that are punctuated with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

There are a few handfuls of major plates and dozens of smaller, or minor, plates. Six of the majors are named for the continents embedded within them, such as the North American, African, and Antarctic plates. Though smaller in size, the minors are no less important when it comes to shaping the Earth. The tiny Juan de Fuca plate is largely responsible for the volcanoes that dot the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The plates make up Earth's outer shell, called the lithosphere . (This includes the crust and uppermost part of the mantle.) Churning currents in the molten rocks below propel them along like a jumble of conveyor belts in disrepair. Most geologic activity stems from the interplay where the plates meet or divide.

The movement of the plates creates three types of tectonic boundaries: convergent, where plates move into one another; divergent, where plates move apart; and transform, where plates move sideways in relation to each other.

They move at a rate of one to two inches (three to five centimeters) per year.

Convergent Boundaries

Where plates serving landmasses collide, the crust crumples and buckles into mountain ranges . India and Asia crashed about 55 million years ago, slowly giving rise to the Himalaya , the highest mountain system on Earth. As the mash-up continues, the mountains get higher. Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, may be a tiny bit taller tomorrow than it is today.

These convergent boundaries also occur where a plate of ocean dives, in a process called subduction, under a landmass. As the overlying plate lifts up, it also forms mountain ranges. In addition, the diving plate melts and is often spewed out in volcanic eruptions such as those that formed some of the mountains in the Andes of South America.

At ocean-ocean convergences, one plate usually dives beneath the other, forming deep trenches like the Mariana Trench in the North Pacific Ocean, the deepest point on Earth. These types of collisions can also lead to underwater volcanoes that eventually build up into island arcs like Japan.

Divergent Boundaries

At divergent boundaries in the oceans, magma from deep in the Earth's mantle rises toward the surface and pushes apart two or more plates. Mountains and volcanoes rise along the seam. The process renews the ocean floor and widens the giant basins. A single mid-ocean ridge system connects the world's oceans, making the ridge the longest mountain range in the world.

On land, giant troughs such as the Great Rift Valley in Africa form where plates are tugged apart. If the plates there continue to diverge, millions of years from now eastern Africa will split from the continent to form a new landmass. A mid-ocean ridge would then mark the boundary between the plates.

Aerial photo of the San Andreas Fault.

Mountains and a rift can be seen along the San Andreas Fault.

Transform Boundaries

The San Andreas Fault in California is an example of a transform boundary, where two plates grind past each other along what are called strike-slip faults. These boundaries don't produce spectacular features like mountains or oceans, but the halting motion often triggers large earthquakes, such as the 1906 one that devastated San Francisco.

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Plate Tectonics and Natural Disasters

Natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis are linked to plate tectonics, the grinding movement of pieces of Earth’s crust.

Earth Science, Geology, Meteorology, Geography, Physical Geography

Damage from the Great Sendai Earthquake

The movement of plate tectonics is not always a slow process. At times it can be fast and violent, causing natural disasters, like the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011, also called Great Sendai Earthquake or Great Tohoku Earthquake.

Photograph by Hitoshi Yamada/SIPA

The movement of plate tectonics is not always a slow process. At times it can be fast and violent, causing natural disasters, like the Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011, also called Great Sendai Earthquake or Great Tohoku Earthquake.

Earth’s surface may look solid—after all, we walk on it and construct buildings on it—but in fact it is a constantly moving puzzle of interlocking pieces. These pieces, known as tectonic plates, are giant sections of Earth’s crust whose edges interact with one another by either colliding or moving apart. The plates of the lithosphere float on top of the malleable asthenosphere in Earth’s interior. The movement of these plates is called plate tectonics, and scientists have studied this field since the 1950s. While the movement of tectonic plates is usually slow—typically just a few centimeters per year—plate tectonics are linked to several kinds of natural disasters , namely earthquakes , volcanoes, and tsunamis . On the afternoon of March 11, 2011, a large earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. This event, which would prove to be deadly, was caused by a specific type of plate movement: subduction . Subduction occurs when one tectonic plate—the one that is older and denser—sinks or is pulled under another tectonic plate. This process does not proceed smoothly, however—tectonic plates can shift and grind against each other, snagging on each other due to friction. Once plates overcome this friction and move past each other, the energy released leads to earthquakes . Near Japan, the Pacific Plate is subducting under the North American Plate. Although it may seem impossible, parts of Japan actually sit above a portion of the North American Plate. In the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake —so named for the part of northeastern Japan that was struck hardest by the quake—a submerged section of the North American plate jolted upward in the Japan Trench. This undersea valley is located roughly 130 kilometers (81 miles) from the main island of Japan. The magnitude 9.0 earthquake produced by the upward movement of this plate—one of the most powerful quakes in recorded history—hoisted a wall of seawater. That huge upwelling of water created a series of waves—a tsunami — that moved outward in all directions from the earthquake ’s epicenter, both toward and away from Japan. The waves moved at speeds of up to 800 kilometers (500 miles) per hour, roughly the speed of a jet airliner. When those waves rolled up on the eastern shore of Japan, the tallest measured more than 10 meters (33 feet) high. The waves that rushed toward the east eventually struck Hawai'i and then the western coast of the United States, though with much less force. The tsunami that hit Japan was far higher than the seawalls that had been built to protect the Japanese coastline from such inundations. The water rushed inland in a great flood, carrying with it ships, sweeping away cars, and destroying buildings. About 20,000 people were killed. Images captured on the day of the earthquake , as well as the days that followed, revealed a shattered landscape full of debris. The environmental impact of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been enormous; researchers studying soil samples have detected pollution from industrial chemicals and pesticides that leaked from the wreckage. That is not surprising given the amount of destruction caused by the disaster: oil refineries in flames, sewer and gas lines broken, and chemical plants damaged. The tsunami also crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant near Sendai, Japan. Ocean waves caused flooding that cut off the plant’s electrical power, making it impossible to cool the plant’s nuclear reactors. As a consequence, three of the plant’s four reactors overheated, causing the uranium fuel rods to liquefy. The melted rods burned through the steel walls meant to contain them, releasing uranium and other radioactive materials into the air and sea. The airborne radioactive particles blanketed houses, crops, and schools. Over 100,000 people were forced to evacuate from their homes. The Japanese government expected to spend the equivalent of more than 200 billion U.S. dollars (and perhaps as much as 600 billion dollars) cleaning up radioactive contamination and dismantling the power station, a task that could take 30 years or more. A lot has been accomplished already, however: 1,500 fuel rods from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant have been removed and radioactive topsoil and vegetation from the surrounding area have been placed in bags for long-term storage. This earthquake also had far-reaching effects: tsunamis rolled up on distant shorelines in places as far away as Chile, and the intense ground shaking might have even changed the rotation rate of Earth, shortening the length of the day by about 1.8 microseconds. Earthquakes and tsunamis are powerful natural disasters capable of wreaking extreme havoc. For that reason, scientists are interested in being able to predict when and where these events will occur. By installing sensors capable of measuring ground movements, researchers can monitor earthquakes , even tiny ones, worldwide. This data allows scientists to assemble global maps of earthquakes to look for patterns in their locations. Researchers have also placed buoys in the ocean to detect tsunami waves traveling toward land. Detecting a tsunami before it floods a shoreline and issuing an alert can save many lives.

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Course: cosmology and astronomy   >   unit 3.

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  • Plate tectonics: Geological features of convergent plate boundaries
  • Plates moving due to convection in mantle
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Plate Tectonics

The Earth’s surface may seem motionless most of the time, but it’s actually always moving, ever so slowly, at a scale that is difficult for humans to perceive. The Earth’s crust is broken up into a series of massive sections called plates. These tectonic plates rest upon the convecting mantle, which causes them to move. The movements of these plates can account for noticeable geologic events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and more subtle yet sublime events, like the building of mountains.

Teach your students about plate tectonics using these classroom resources.

Earth Science, Geology, Geography, Physical Geography

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Evidence of plate tectonics.

©2012 California Academy of Sciences

Modern continents hold clues to their distant past. Evidence from fossils, glaciers, and complementary coastlines helps reveal how the plates once fit together.

Fossils tell us when and where plants and animals once existed. Some life "rode" on diverging plates, became isolated, and evolved into new species. Other life dispersed to new areas as continents reconnected, oceans narrowed, or chains of volcanic islands formed. Finding identical or similar fossils in areas separated by vast distances were some of the first clues that scientists used to reconstruct past plate movement. This distribution of fossils led to theories that the southern continents were once joined in a supercontinent called Gondwana.

Similar geologic formations on different continents show historic land connections. Antarctica’s mountains are an extension of South America’s Andes. If Southern Hemisphere continents were reassembled into a single landmass, glacial remnants in Africa and India would realign.

This post is part of Exploring Earthquakes , a rich collection of resources co-presented by the California Academy of Sciences and KQED. This material is also available as a free iBooks textbook and iTunes U course .

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Find out what you can do right now to protect yourself in the event of an earthquake. You'll be happy you did. 

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Plate tectonics is the grand, unifying theory of Earth sciences, combining the concepts of continental drift and sea-floor spreading into one holistic theory that explains many of the major structural features of the Earth's surface. It explains why the oceanic lithosphere is never older than about 180 Ma and why only the continents have preserved the Earth's geological record for the past 4000 Ma. It provides the framework to explain the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes and a mechanism for the slow drift of the continents across the Earth's surface. The theory has now reached such a level of scientific acceptance that the movement of plates, both relative to one another and to the hot-spot reference frame, are being used to infer movement of the hot-spot reference frame with respect to the Earth's rotational axis.

Plate tectonics is an expression of the convective regime in the underlying mantle, but the link between individual convection cells and plate boundaries is not direct because plate boundaries are not fixed and, like the plates, move relative to one another. Plate movements are driven by gravity, largely by cold, dense lithospheric slabs pulling younger lithosphere towards a destructive boundary. A less-powerful driving force is generated by the potential energy of spreading centres, elevated some 2-3 km above the general level of the abyssal plains.

As ideas concerning plate tectonics have evolved since the 1970s, it has become apparent that while the theory can be applied rigorously to the oceans, the same cannot be said of the continents. Because of the strength and rigidity of oceanic plates, deformation is focused into narrow linear zones along plate margins. By contrast, when continental lithosphere approaches a plate boundary, deformation can extend hundreds of kilometres into the continental interior because continental plates are less strong. Such deformation gives rise to the major mountain belts of the Earth, as exemplified by the Alpine Himalayan Chain.

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EXPLAIN HOW ROCK FORMATIONS, GEOLOGIC ENVIRONMENTS, MINERAL RESOURCES, VOLCANOES AND THEIR ERUPTIONS, LANDFORMS, MOUNTAIN BUILDING PROCESSES, CLIMATE CHANGE, EVOLUTION, FOLDS, FAULTS AND EARTHQUAKES RELATE TO AND ARE AFFECTED BY PLATE TECTONICS

[Insert brief introductory statement here.]

Open Educational Resources

The outcome for this section will be covered by several Open Educational Resources. Review and reflect on each one as you prepare to complete the assessment for this module.

  • Reading: The Ring of Fire
  • Reading: Intraplate Deformation
  • Reading: Folds
  • Reading: Climates and Tectonics

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Original content from Kimberly Schulte (Columbia Basin College) and supplemented by Lumen Learning . The content on this page is copyrighted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Home — Essay Samples — Science — Plate Tectonics — How the continental drift works

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How The Continental Drift Works

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Published: Oct 22, 2018

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Works Cited

  • Tarbuck, E. J., Lutgens, F. K., & Tasa, D. G. (2017). Earth Science. Pearson.
  • Trefil, J., & Hazen, R. M. (2019). The Sciences: An Integrated Approach. Wiley.
  • Wicander, R., & Monroe, J. S. (2019). Historical Geology: Evolution of Earth and Life through Time. Cengage Learning.
  • Press, F., Siever, R., Grotzinger, J., & Jordan, T. (2003). Understanding Earth. W. H. Freeman.
  • Leeder, M. (2016). Sedimentology and Sedimentary Basins: From Turbulence to Tectonics. Wiley.
  • Fossen, H. (2016). Structural Geology. Cambridge University Press.

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Plate Tectonics

What is plate tectonics.

Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth’s outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core. The plates act like hard and rigid shells compared to Earth’s mantle. This strong outer layer is called the lithosphere.

plate tectonics

The earth’s lithosphere is composed of seven or eight major plates and many minor plates. The lithosphere is a rigid outermost shell of the earth and is broken up into tectonic plates. When these plates meet, their relative motion determines the type of boundary like convergent, divergent, or transform.

Volcanic activity, earthquakes, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur along these plate boundaries. The relative movement of the plates typically ranges from zero to 100 mm annually.

How do plate tectonics affect humans?

Plate tectonics affects humans in several important ways.

  • It causes earthquakes
  • It causes volcanism
  • It induces the recycling of elements within the biosphere and between the geosphere and biosphere
  • It causes mountain-building

Types of plate boundaries:

Plate Boundaries mainly consist of three types (the fourth is a mixed type), formed in the manner the plates shift in relative to each other. These are collectively referred to as surface phenomena of different types. Plate boundaries are of different types, namely:

Transform boundaries:

These boundaries happen where two lithospheric plates move apart, or maybe further precisely, collide away from one other despite the transform faults, where plates are neither created nor destroyed.

Divergent boundaries:

These boundaries happen when both plates move apart from one another.

Convergent boundaries:

These boundaries happen when both plates move towards one other to form a zone of subduction or a continental collision.

These boundaries happen when natural or human-made structures that cross a transform boundary are offset—split into pieces and carried in opposite directions.

Plate boundary zones:

These boundaries happen where the effects of the interactions are unclear, and the boundaries usually occur along a broad belt.

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Plate Movement

By: Brian   •  Essay  •  298 Words  •  May 9, 2010  •  975 Views

The earth is made up of many parts with layers of rocks, lava and minerals put equal amount of pressure on all sides of the earth. The earth has many layers such as the inner core outer, core mantle, crust and oceanic plates with each having their own order. Each plate offers to have different materials but the main factor is that the inside of the earth is very hot making it unbearable to go underneath the earth. The earth had been solidified over billions of years creating the theory of plate tectonics which is the movement of the existing plates that are underneath our earth. The land on the earth has also moved a lot and has changed dramatically over the years of its existence. This being so is not the only cause of plate tectonics, movements of the earth are caused by earth quakes which move the plates causing an magnetic movement or a shift in the land.

. The theory of plate tectonics is not proven to be only the shift of the oceanic plates or the plates on top of the earth; many are caused deep

IMAGES

  1. A Plate Tectonic Movements WS (1)

    essay about plate movement

  2. Mechanisms of Plate Movement

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  3. Plate tectonics and earth movement essay sample

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  4. Principles of Plate Tectonic Movement Essay Example

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  5. Evidence Of Tectonic Plate Movement

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  6. Learning Geology: What Drives Plate Motion, and How Fast Do Plates Move?

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VIDEO

  1. moving plate above hotspot

  2. Plate Tectonics Model Intro Video

  3. Convergent Plate Movement

  4. Tectonic Plate Movement in Next 300 million years

  5. Plate movement I South African plate divide l explain by Gautam Sir #plate #southafrica #adda247

  6. Why Indian Tectonic Plate is BREAKING in Two Parts?

COMMENTS

  1. Essay on Plate Tectonics and Its Types

    Conclusion. Plate tectonics describes the movement of fragments formed from broken lithosphere. These fragments are suspended on the asthenosphere, which is molten hence offering good medium of movement. There are three different types of plate tectonics, that is, convergent, divergent, and lateral slipping. These movements cause earthquakes as ...

  2. Plate Tectonics

    Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that explains how major landforms are created as a result of Earth's subterranean movements. The theory, which solidified in the 1960s, transformed the earth sciences by explaining many phenomena, including mountain building events, volcanoes, and earthquakes. In plate tectonics, Earth's outermost layer, or lithosphere —made up of the crust and ...

  3. Plate tectonics

    Principles of plate tectonics. A cross section of Earth's outer layers, from the crust through the lower mantle. In essence, plate-tectonic theory is elegantly simple. Earth 's surface layer, 50 to 100 km (30 to 60 miles) thick, is rigid and is composed of a set of large and small plates. Together, these plates constitute the lithosphere ...

  4. Plate Tectonics Information and Facts

    The movement of the plates creates three types of tectonic boundaries: convergent, where plates move into one another; divergent, where plates move apart; and transform, where plates move sideways ...

  5. Introduction to plate tectonics (article)

    Key points: Earth's lithosphere, or outermost shell, is broken up into large pieces called tectonic plates. These plates move slowly over the asthenosphere, a layer of softer rock below the lithosphere. On average, tectonic plates move a few centimeters per year. The place where two plates meet is called a plate boundary.

  6. Plate Boundaries: Divergent, Convergent, and Transform

    The movements of the plates help shape the geological features of our planet. The three main types of plate movements include: Divergent (Spreading):This is where two plates move away from each other. Molten rock from the mantle erupts along the opening, forming new crust. The earthquakes that occur along these zones, called spreading centers ...

  7. 10.4: Plate, Plate Motions, and Plate Boundary Processes

    Figure 10.4.1 10.4. 1 A map showing 15 of the Earth's tectonic plates and the approximate rates and directions of plate motions. Rates of motions of the major plates range from less than 1 cm/y to over 10 cm/y. The Pacific Plate is the fastest, followed by the Australian and Nazca Plates.

  8. Plate Tectonics and Natural Disasters

    While the movement of tectonic plates is usually slow—typically just a few centimeters per year—plate tectonics are linked to several kinds of natural disasters, namely earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis. On the afternoon of March 11, 2011, a large earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. This event, which would prove to be ...

  9. Plate tectonics

    Plate tectonics (from Latin tectonicus, from Ancient Greek τεκτονικός (tektonikós) 'pertaining to building') is the scientific theory that Earth's lithosphere comprises a number of large tectonic plates, which have been slowly moving since about 3.4 billion years ago. The model builds on the concept of continental drift, an idea developed during the first decades of the 20th century.

  10. Plate tectonics: Evidence of plate movement

    For example, take the Great Rift Valley in Africa. The African, Arabian, and Indian plates are moving. The land of Africa east of the Great Rift Valley is separating from the rest of Africa. Eventually (a few million years), a new plate will be created, being the land that has separated. ( 8 votes)

  11. Understanding plate motions [This Dynamic Earth, USGS]

    Most movement occurs along narrow zones between plates where the results of plate-tectonic forces are most evident. There are four types of plate boundaries: Divergent boundaries -- where new crust is generated as the plates pull away from each other. Convergent boundaries -- where crust is destroyed as one plate dives under another.

  12. Plate Tectonics

    The movements of these plates can account for noticeable geologic events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and more subtle yet sublime events, like the building of mountains. Teach your students about plate tectonics using these classroom resources. Grades. 5 - 8. Subjects.

  13. Evidence of Plate Tectonics

    Evidence of Plate Tectonics. 0. Modern continents hold clues to their distant past. Evidence from fossils, glaciers, and complementary coastlines helps reveal how the plates once fit together. Fossils tell us when and where plants and animals once existed. Some life "rode" on diverging plates, became isolated, and evolved into new species.

  14. Plate tectonics: Plate Tectonics: Conclusion

    Plate tectonics is an expression of the convective regime in the underlying mantle, but the link between individual convection cells and plate boundaries is not direct because plate boundaries are not fixed and, like the plates, move relative to one another. Plate movements are driven by gravity, largely by cold, dense lithospheric slabs ...

  15. Plate tectonics and people [This Dynamic Earth, USGS]

    Over geologic time, plate movements in concert with other geologic processes, such as glacial and stream erosion, have created some of nature's most magnificent scenery. The Himalayas, the Swiss Alps, and the Andes are some spectacular examples. Yet violent earthquakes related to plate tectonics have caused terrible catastrophes -- such as the ...

  16. Tectonic Plate Movement

    Plate movement can cause both short-term and long-term changes on Earth, including volcanic activity, earthquakes, mountain building, and even the movement of entire continents over millions of years.

  17. 5.9: Effects of Plate Tectonics

    The outcome for this section will be covered by several Open Educational Resources. Review and reflect on each one as you prepare to complete the assessment for this module. Reading: The Ring of Fire. Reading: Intraplate Deformation. Reading: Folds. Reading: Climates and Tectonics.

  18. How the continental drift works: [Essay Example], 946 words

    The continental drift is a movement of earth continents. The continental drift demonstrated how continents shift positions on the earth's surface. It was discovered and developed in the early 20th century. The continents are combined to form a single supercontinent. In addition, the continents lay on slabs of rocks called tectonic plates.

  19. Essay On Plate Tectonics

    Essay On Plate Tectonics. 866 Words4 Pages. Plate tectonics, the cause of many, many natural disasters and landforms. The shifting of tectonic plates can cause earthquakes, mountains, volcanoes, mid-oceanic ridges, and oceanic trenches, depending on the direction the plates move. Though it seems they have such a large effect on Earth itself ...

  20. Tectonics Plate Movements

    Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core. The plates act like hard and rigid shells compared to Earth's mantle. This strong outer layer is called the lithosphere. The earth's lithosphere is composed of seven or eight major plates ...

  21. Plate Movement Essay

    Plate Movement. The earth is made up of many parts with layers of rocks, lava and minerals put equal amount of pressure on all sides of the earth. The earth has many layers such as the inner core outer, core mantle, crust and oceanic plates with each having their own order. Each plate offers to have different materials but the main factor is ...