global tectonic plates

Would you like to be more involved in the geoscience education community? With clues left behind in rocks and fossils, geoscientists can reconstruct the past history of Earth's continents.
Hays and Pitman, 1973, Müller et al., 2008), mantle convection (e.g. I of course encourage discussion both between students and with me as interesting questions arise about what they are observing on the map.

Share your experiences and modifications, Tectonics and Topography Lab Handout for Intro, Geologic Map Interpretation with Google Earth, All Structural Geology related materials from across Teach the Earth, Bringing MARGINS Research into the Classroom, All Plate Tectonics related materials from across Teach the Earth, All Geomorphology related materials from across Teach the Earth, Schedule of Upcoming Workshops and Webinars, Associate Editor responsibilities and qualifications,,, Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments, Robustness (usability and dependability of all components), Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page, Short URL: Receive news and offers from our other brands? Hot material near the Earth's core rises, and colder mantle rock sinks.

There was a problem. "We don't really know when plate tectonics as it looks today got started, but we do know that we have continental crust that was likely scraped off a down-going slab [a tectonic plate in a subduction zone] that is 3.8 billion years old," Van der Elst said. Fragments of continental crust are much older, with large chunks at least 3.8 billion years found in Greenland. PyBacktrack 1.3 now available as a Python package and a Docker image. 1. School of Geosciences Professor Dietmar Müller has been recognised as Australia’s research leader in the field of geophysics!

Upcoming registration deadlines for the NAGT Webinar Series! This has changed the exercise in interesting ways, some plate boundaries and features are much easier to find than they once were but others are more difficult because the added detail creates additional complexity. A more recent supercontinent called Pangaea formed about 300 million years ago. Using a double-page size digital topographic map of the Earth that includes both land and sea floor topography, students are asked to draw plate boundaries, deduce plate motions and interactions, and explore the connections between topography and tectonic processes at the global scale. I provide below a link to a high resolution version that also includes a legend and more information on the data used in making the map. For example, India and Asia came together about 55 million years ago, which created the Himalaya Mountains, according to National Geographic. View other EarthByte animations on our YouTube channel, EarthByte Group Subduction zones, or convergent margins, are one of the three types of plate boundaries. New York, The tertiary plates are microplates – very small in size and global presence. This can be as basic as: Divergent Boundaries are characterized by midocean ridges, Convergent Boundaries by deep sea trenches and volcanic arcs, and Transform Boundaries by linear topographic features.

Plate tectonics is the unifying theory of geology, said Nicholas van der Elst, a seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York.

Students must have a basic knowledge of the concepts of plate tectonics, and specifically must know (or be reminded of) the topographic features that are characteristic of different types of plate boundaries. The convection drive plates tectonics through a combination of pushing and spreading apart at mid-ocean ridges and pulling and sinking downward at subduction zones, researchers think.

Africa, South America, North America and Europe nestled closely together, leaving a characteristic pattern of fossils and rocks for geologists to decipher once Pangaea broke apart. Tiny plates are of particular interest to Australia because much of the continental crust underlying Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland is made up of fragments of ancient volcanic arcs and segments of tiny “back-arc” plates that existed hundreds of millions of years ago (largely before 200 Myr ago).

Pacific Plate The cold, sinking plate pulls the crust behind it downward. The others are divergent and transform margins. Material on this page is offered under a Join us at, The On the Cutting Edge website and workshop program are supported by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT).

Scientists continue to study and debate the mechanisms that move the plates.

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.

I have used this exercise for many years, during which the quality of available digital topographic maps has continually improved. Most of it is located under the ocean. You will receive a verification email shortly. While the Earth is 4.54 billion years old, because oceanic crust is constantly recycled at subduction zones, the oldest seafloor is only about 200 million years old. One of the earliest big supercontinents, called Rodinia, assembled about 1 billion years ago. It’s these parts of the crust that host mineral deposits including copper and gold, associated with the dynamic tectonic subduction environments in which these small plates form. I have posted here a file with a current (very beautiful) version from NOAA at moderate resolution. (I collect the prints at the end of the exercise for re-use.) This strong outer layer is called the lithosphere, which is 100 km (60 miles) thick, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. I grade students finished maps and answers to thought questions.

Wegener didn't have an explanation for how continents could move around the planet, but researchers do now.

To obtain insights into the history of these now destroyed plates geodynamic simulations are used to understand the physics underlying the formation and destruction of small plates (see companion animation by Claire Mallard). (Image credit: by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist). Specifically, it stretches all the way along the west coast of North America to the east coast of Japan and Indonesia. Visit our corporate site.

"Before plate tectonics, people had to come up with explanations of the geologic features in their region that were unique to that particular region," Van der Elst said.

Your membership is helping to ensure that this site can continue to serve geoscience educators. I use this exercise as the first lab activity in a 200-level undergraduate course in plate tectonics, but the activity works well for students all the way from non-major physical geology courses to advanced senior seminars.

NY 10036. As ocean plates subducted near a continental margin, its bending caused upwarping of sea floor, and its drag caused downwarping of continental crust, facilitating the placement of … Show terms of use for text on this page », Show terms of use for media on this page ». Today seven plates, including the Pacific Ocean and Africa as the largest plates, account for 94% of the surface while the remaining 6% are occupied by a multitude of small plates, such as Iberia and the Philippine Plate.

Today seven plates, including the Pacific Ocean and Africa as the largest plates, account for 94% of the surface while the remaining 6% are occupied by a multitude of small plates, such as Iberia and the Philippine Plate. Tectonic hazards can destroy buildings, infrastructure and cause deaths. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors?

This exercise encourages students to *explore* the concept of plate tectonics, and to connect tectonic processes with geography and topography at the global scale. Below the lithosphere is the asthenosphere, which is malleable or partially malleable, allowing the lithosphere to move around. It is moving northwest at a speed of around 2.75 inches (7 cm) per year. Please refresh the page and try again. The plates act like a hard and rigid shell compared to Earth's mantle.

Madsen Building F09 Are you interested in engaging more deeply in the review process? The driving force behind plate tectonics is convection in the mantle. High resolution versions of the digital topographic map suitable for printing on a plotter and posting as a wall map are available here: Structure, Geophysics, and Tectonics 2012,, Used this activity? Animation produced by Dietmar Müller using the GPlates software, based on the global tectonic model published here: Müller, R. D, Seton, M., Zahirovic, S., Williams, S.E., Matthews, K.J., Wright, N.M., Shephard, G.E., Maloney, K.Y., Barnett-Moore, N., Hosseinpour, M., Bower, D.J., Cannon, J., 2016, Ocean basin evolution and global-scale plate reorganization events since Pangea breakup, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science, Vol 44, 107-138.

There are many of these maps available and they keep getting better.

The puzzle pieces left behind by Pangaea, from fossils to the matching shorelines along the Atlantic Ocean, provided the first hints that the Earth's continents move. Roberto Spina reviews the future of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Analytics in Geosciences, Interactive virtual gravity globe, based on BGI’s global gravity grids by Bonvalot et al. 19 December 2017. The On the Cutting Edge website and workshop program are supported by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT).

Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, Transform margins mark slip-sliding plates, such as California's San Andreas Fault, where the North America and Pacific plates grind past each other with a mostly horizontal motion.

1. Plate motion models that describe the kinematics of Earth's tectonic plates in a spatial and temporal context are utilised in studies of paleogeography (e.g. The mission of The Geological Society of America is to advance geoscience research and discovery, service to society, stewardship of Earth, and the geosciences profession. University of Sydney NSW 7 Major Tectonic Plates 1.

This animation shows the tesselation of the surface of the Earth over the last 200 million years as an evolving "jigsaw puzzle" of plates. plate tectonics began about 3 billion years ago, billion years after Earth's birth, at around 3.5 billion years, Scientific American: Earth's Tectonic Activity May Be Crucial for Life--and Rare in Our Galaxy, Nature: Earth science- How Plate Tectonics Clicked, PBS: Plate Tectonics Activity DIY Experiment, These could be the funniest animal pictures ever, Photos: Murder hornets will haunt your nightmares, 'Starman' just zipped past Mars in his rapidly-decaying Tesla Roadster, Worm Grows 2 Heads in Space, Surprising Scientists, 1st 'murder hornet' nest in US found and destroyed, Scientists discover new organ in the throat, Rare, 2-headed snake discovered by Florida house cat. The lithosphere includes the crust and outer part of the mantle. Plates bumping into each other can also cause mountain ranges.

How it moves around is an evolving idea.

Tectonic Plates videos and latest news articles; your source for the latest news on Tectonic Plates . Learn (or review) the characteristics of the three types of plate boundaries, and how these are expressed in major topographic features of the Earth's surface.

Mid-ocean ridges are gaps between tectonic plates that mantle the Earth like seams on a baseball. "Plate tectonics unified all these descriptions and said that you should be able to describe all geologic features as though driven by the relative motion of these tectonic plates.". The obvious exceptions to these generalizations make for useful discussion as the students work through the exercise. 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.

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