Plate tectonics

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Unit Lecture-Intro


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Plate Tectonics:

Plate Tectonics

Introduction to Plate Tectonics:

Introduction to Plate Tectonics

Essential question:

Essential question What is the theory of plate tectonics and what evidence do we have to support it?

Theory of Plate Tectonics:

Theory of Plate Tectonics Plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains the past and current movements of the rocks at Earth’s surface and provides an account of its geological history The plates move across Earth’s surface, carrying the continents, creating and destroying ocean basins, producing earthquakes and volcanoes, and forming mountain ranges and plateaus.


What evidence from looking at the figure below suggests that the continents were together at one point?

Evidence of Plate Tectonics:

Evidence of Plate Tectonics Consistent patterns of earthquake locations and volcanic activity location. Volcanic Activity Earthquake Locations


Evidence(cont.) Evidence of ocean floor spreading over time given by tracking magnetic patterns in undersea rocks and coordinating them with changes to Earth’s magnetic axis data.

Clarification Question:

Clarification Question What evidence supports the theory of plate tectonics?


Convection Plate movement is driven by convection. Convection is the transfer of heat by the circulation or movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas. Tectonic plates are the top parts of giant convection cells that bring matter from the hot inner mantle up to the cool surface.

Elaboration Question:

Elaboration Question Can you think of other places where convection takes place?


Convergent Plates move towards each other. Powerful earthquakes and volcanoes common. Continental lithosphere is created and oceanic lithosphere is destroyed. Examples of convergent boundaries: Andes Mountains Himalayas Oceanic lithosphere- oceanic lithosphere convergent boundary Continental lithosphere- oceanic lithosphere convergent boundary Continental lithosphere- continental lithosphere convergent boundary


Divergent Plates move away from each other. Frequent earthquakes New lithosphere is created as liquid material of lower density rises from the surface and cools. Examples of divergent boundaries: Mid-Atlantic Ridge East African Rift


Transform Plates move past each other. Natural and man-made structures crossing these boundaries will be offset. Lithosphere is neither created or destroyed. Just cracked and broken up. Examples of transform boundaries: San Andreas Fault

Reason and Evidence Question:

Reason and Evidence Question What boundary do we have here? Would lithosphere be created or destroyed, how do you know?

Essential Question:

Essential Question What is the theory of plate tectonics and what evidence do we have to support it?

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