The features of plate tectonics

The location where two plates meet is called a plate boundary. His paper, though little The features of plate tectonics and even ridiculed at the time, has since been called "seminal" and "prescient".

In the theory of plume tectonics developed during the s, a modified concept of mantle convection currents is used. The study of global seismicity greatly advanced in the s with the establishment of the Worldwide Standardized Seismograph Network WWSSN [45] to monitor the compliance of the treaty banning above-ground testing of nuclear weapons.

Alfred Wegener in Greenland in the winter of — For many geologic applications, isotope ratios of radioactive elements are measured in minerals that give the amount of time that has passed since a rock passed through its particular closure temperaturethe point at which different radiometric isotopes stop diffusing into and out of the crystal lattice.

The main features of plate tectonics are: Armed with the knowledge of a new heat source, scientists realized that the Earth would be much older, and that its core was still sufficiently The features of plate tectonics to be liquid.

Plate tectonics

Such offset occurs because spreading takes place on the spherical surface of the Earth, and some parts of a plate must be moving at a higher relative velocity than other parts One of the largest such transform boundaries occurs along the boundary of the North American and Pacific plates and is known as the San Andreas Fault.

In many places, the Grand Canyon in the southwestern United States being a very visible example, the lower rock units were metamorphosed and deformed, and then deformation ended and the upper, undeformed units were deposited.

During the thirties up to the late fifties, works by Vening-MeineszHolmes, Umbgroveand numerous others outlined concepts that were close or nearly identical to modern plate tectonics theory.

Extension causes the rock units as a whole to become longer and thinner. Hotspot volcanism is not restricted to the ocean basins ; it also occurs within continents, as in the case of Yellowstone National Park in western North America. Also located are several dozen hot spots where plumes of hot mantle material are upwelling beneath the plates.

Benioff zones and the oceanic trenches provided the answer: They were published during an episode of extreme political and economic instability that hampered scientific communication.

Explain magnetic anomalies found on the sea floor. Evolving Plate Boundaries Plate boundaries can evolve. Thus, the age of the oceanic crust becomes progressively older in both directions away from the ridge.

The result is The features of plate tectonics slight lateral incline with increased distance from the ridge axis. Proponents of the classical model maintain that these discrepancies are due to the effects of mantle circulation as the plumes ascend, a process called the mantle wind.

When these magnetic patterns were mapped over a wide region, the ocean floor showed a zebra -like pattern: He believed that Pangea was intact until the late Carboniferous period, about million years ago, when it began to break up and drift apart. This repeated heating and cooling results in a current which may be enough to cause continents to move.

Types of plate boundaries Main article: The number of these hotspots is uncertain estimates range from 20 tobut most occur within a plate rather than at a plate boundary. However, transform faults also occur between plate margins with continental crust—for example, the San Andreas Fault in California and the North Anatolian fault system in Turkey.

Gravitational sliding away from mantle doming: The Pacific Plate, for example, is entirely oceanic, whereas the North American Plate is capped by continental crust in the west the North American continent and by oceanic crust in the east and extends under the Atlantic Ocean as far as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Knowing the age of the crust and the distance from the ridge, the relative velocity of the plates can be determined. That is we know the velocity of one plate only if we can assume that the adjacent plate is not moving.

Like the mid-oceanic ridges, the trenches are seismically active, but unlike the ridges they have low levels of heat flow. Oceanic lithosphere returns to the mantle by sliding downward at the oceanic trenches subducting.

Back-arc basins Where both converging plates are oceanic, the margin of the older oceanic crust will be subducted because older oceanic crust is colder and therefore more dense. Absolute datingradiometric datingand geochronology Geologists also use methods to determine the absolute age of rock samples and geological events.

Measurements suggest that hotspots may move relative to one another, a situation not predicted by the classical model, which describes the movement of lithospheric plates over stationary mantle plumes.

Convection currents beneath the plates move the crustal plates in different directions. What are the possible causes of plate tectonics. Even older rocks, such as the Acasta gneiss of the Slave craton in northwestern Canadathe oldest known rock in the world have been metamorphosed to the point where their origin is undiscernable without laboratory analysis.

These studies revealed the presence of two important topographic features of the ocean floor: Geological Survey Many transform faults in the Atlantic Ocean are the continuation of major faults in adjacent continents, which suggests that the orientation of these faults might be inherited from preexisting weaknesses in continental crust during the earliest stages of the development of oceanic crust.

Illustration prepared by Paul D. Oceanic Ridges - long sinuous ridges that occupy the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean.The Himalayan mountain range dramatically demonstrates one of the most visible and spectacular consequences of plate tectonics.

When two continents meet head-on, neither is subducted because the continental rocks are relatively light and, like two colliding icebergs, resist downward motion.

Plate Tectonics: The Mechanism. The main features of plate tectonics are: The Earth's surface is covered by a series of crustal plates. The ocean floors are continually moving, spreading from the center, sinking at the edges, and being regenerated.

Here are two plate tectonics maps which show more detail than the maps above. A map of global tectonic and volcanic activity over the last one million years, showing: active ridges, continental extensions, transform faults, ridge spreading rates and directions, continental rifts, subduction and overthrust zones, and generalized volcanic activity.

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. Plate Tectonics is a theory developed in the late s, to explain how the outer layers of the Earth move and deform.

Plate Tectonics Map - Plate Boundary Map

The theory has caused a revolution in. Plate tectonics is the scientific theory that attempts to explain the movements of the Earth's lithosphere that have formed the landscape features we see across the globe today.

By definition, the word "plate" in geologic terms means a large slab of solid rock. "Tectonics" is a part of the Greek.

The features of plate tectonics
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