Plate Tectonics

Plate Tectonics


Plate tectonics’ create great mountain belts, both by subduction and continental collision.

The movements of Earth’s plate tectonics causes the majority of the Earth’s earthquakes and volcanoes, creates new ocean floor where plates spread apart at mid-ocean ridges: a process called seafloor spreading, destroys old ocean floor where plates come together, and one dives beneath the other at ocean trenches; a process called subduction.


Divergent boundaries are where tectonic plates pull away from each other. Tectonic plates that pull away from each other can cause mild earthquakes and volcano eruptions

Convergent boundaries are boundaries where two tectonic plates push into each other. One plate slides under the other generating a process that is known as subduction.

Subduction is the sideways and downward movement of a tectonic plate. It moves earth’s crust into its mantle underneath another plate.


Earthquakes occur at plate tectonic boundaries. Tectonic plates are continually moving, slowly and sometimes the friction can cause the plates to lock together, unable to move. The waves of energy released transfer through the Earth’s crust and cause the surrounding areas to shake.


Volcanic Mountain Ranges are crust formations that occur under the ocean along the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Volcanoes in Iceland are formed from the North American and Eurasian Plate spreading apart.

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Mount Ishikari

Volcanic “hot spots” are areas located in the Earth’s mantle, this is where rocks melt to generate magma. The occurrence of a volcanic “hot spot” is influenced by irregular volcanism, which is not located at a plate boundary. A volcanic “hotspot” appears at the Hawaiian volcanoes, located in the Pacific Plate.


Young Mountain Belts form when two lithospheric plates converge and intersect other boundaries. Mountain belts usually determine the boundaries of lithospheric plates.


As a final point, the mechanism that moves Earth’s plates are called convection currents.

Earth’s tectonic plates move due to the intense heat and tempature differences in the Earth’s core that causes molten rock in the mantle layer to move in a pattern called a convection cell. A convection cell forms when warm material rises and cools, and eventually sinks.


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