Plate boundaries


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Plate boundaries

  1. 1. Divergent boundaries occur along spreading centers where plates are moving apart and new crust is created by magma pushing up from the mantle. Picture two giant conveyor belts, facing each other but slowly moving in opposite directions as they transport newly formed crust away from the ridge crest.
  2. 2. Mid-Atlantic Ridge The rate of spreading along the Mid- Atlantic Ridge averages about 2.5 centimeters per year, or 25 km in a million years. Seafloor spreading over the past 100-200 million years has caused the Atlantic Ocean to grow from a tiny inlet of water between the continents of Europe, Africa, and the Americas into the vast ocean that exists today.
  3. 3. They also cause volcanoes to occur. An example of this is in Iceland The island of Iceland is actually being pulled apart, and the result are lava fountains, like Krafla Volcano. Krafla
  4. 4. This process, called rifting, is still in progress comes in the many active and semi-active volcanoes located along the Rift (designated by red triangles on the map). Further evidence of volcanic activity along the rift is provided by the presence of numerous boiling hot springs. African Rift Valley A 6,000-mile crack in the earth's crust, stretching from Lebanon to Mozambique is known as the African Rift Valley. The force of the plates pulling apart caused huge chunks of the crust to sink and force up molten rock in volcanic eruptions. Rifting
  5. 5. The Red Sea (just off the east coast of Africa) is spreading. The land to either side is actually pulling away! The Red Sea continues to get bigger each year.
  6. 6. Convergent boundaries exist where one plate is subducted underneath another plate. Subduction - one plate sinks underneath another plate Where convergent plates exist, the earth’s crust is being destroyed as it slowly moves underneath another section of crust and melts into the mantle.
  7. 7. Ocean-Continent Collision: Underneath the ocean water there are a number of long, narrow, curving trenches thousands of kilometers long and 8 to 10 km deep cutting into the ocean floor. Trenches are the deepest parts of the ocean floor and are created by subduction.
  8. 8. Ocean-Continent Collision: Off the coast of South America, the oceanic Nazca Plate is pushing into and being subducted under the continental part of the South American Plate. At the same time, the South American Plate is being lifted up, creating the Andes Mountains. Strong, destructive earthquakes and the rapid uplift of mountain ranges are common in this region. Such earthquakes have been known to jolt the land up several meters. Andes Mountains
  9. 9. Ocean-Ocean Collision: When two oceanic plate collide, it can result in the formation of volcanoes, too. One oceanic plate sink beneath the other, and over millions of years, the erupted lava and volcanic debris pile up on the ocean floor. Finally, a volcano rises above sea level to form an island volcano. Such volcanoes are typically strung out in chains called island arcs. This is how the Aleutian Islands have formed and why they experience numerous strong earthquakes.
  10. 10. Continent-Continent Collision: The Himalayan Mountains were created when two continental plates met head- on,and neither was subducted. Continental rocks are relatively light and, like two colliding icebergs, resist downward motion. Instead, the crust buckled and was pushed upward and sideways. Viola! Mountains!
  11. 11. India collided into Asia 50 million years ago, causing the Eurasian Plate to crumple up and override the Indian Plate. After the collision, the slow continuous convergence of the two plates over millions of years pushed up the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau to their present heights. The Himalayas, towering as high as 8,854 m above sea level, are the highest continental mountains in the world. Continent-Continent Collision:
  12. 12. Most transform boundaries are found on the ocean floor. A few occur on land, an example is the San Andreas fault in California. Transform boundaries are the result of two plates sliding past each other.
  13. 13. • Stretches about 1,300 km long and in some places tens of kilometers wide. • Slices through two thirds of the length of California. • The Pacific Plate has been grinding horizontally past the North American Plate for 10 million years, at an average rate of about 5 cm/yr. • Land on the west side of the fault (on the Pacific Plate) is moving in a northwesterly direction relative to the land on the east side of the fault zone (on the North American Plate). The San Andreas Fault