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Earth’s Internal Properties Continental Drift & Plate Tectonics Science 2201 Chapter 17.

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Presentation on theme: "Earth’s Internal Properties Continental Drift & Plate Tectonics Science 2201 Chapter 17."— Presentation transcript:

1 Earth’s Internal Properties Continental Drift & Plate Tectonics Science 2201 Chapter 17

2 October 17, 1989

3 May 18, 1980

4 Earthquakes and volcanoes: evidence that our planet is not at rest. global distribution of earthquakes and volcanic centers…above crustal plate boundaries The surface of the earth is constantly changing and no feature on earth is permanent.

5 Why is the Earth so restless? “Convection Conveyer-belt” The heat that drives the motion of the mantle comes from two sources: ---Radioactive decay of materials in the mantle ---Heat left over from the formation of the earth

6 James Hutton 1726-1797

7 "catastrophism," earthly changes were sudden & caused by a series of catastrophes This belief prevailed until the 1700s "uniformitarianism 1785 James Hutton The present is the key to the past

8 Uniformitarian Principle the geologic forces and processes -- gradual as well as catastrophic -- acting on the Earth today are the same as those that have acted in the geologic past.


10 Alfred Wegener 1880-1930

11 Theory of Continental Drift (Wegener, 1915) continents plowed through crust of ocean basins, which would explain why the outlines of many coastlines(like South America and Africa) look like they fit together like a puzzle


13 Continental Drift: a theory ahead of its time impossible for a large mass of solid rock to plow through the ocean floor without breaking up mid 20th Century, new evidence from ocean floor exploration rekindled interest in Wegener's theory, ultimately leading to theory of plate tectonics.


15 Plate Tectonics: A modern version of Wegener’s old idea the outer rigid lithosphere consists of about 20 rigid segments called plates Most plates contain both continental and oceanic crust—a major departure from the continental drift theory The word tectonics comes from the Greek root "to build."

16 Folding and Faulting Compressive forces from moving plates can cause rock to bend & wrinkle into wavelike folds The crack or break in the rock is called a fault and the movement of the rock is “faulting”

17 Earthquakes Great forces of stress occurs as plates of rock pushed in opposite directions sudden movement as the blocks slide and then come to rest in a new position that eases the pressure



20 The entire San Andreas fault system is more than 800 miles long and extends to depths of at least 10 miles within the Earth. In detail, the fault is a complex zone of crushed and broken rock from a few hundred feet to a mile wide.

21 Seismograph Richter Scale based on the amount of seismographic movement An earthquake with a number of 2 is just strong enough to be felt, 5 can cause much damage, 7 or more is classified as a major earthquake






27 Plate Boundaries 3 Main Types –Divergent –Convergent –Transform

28 Divergent Plate Boundaries plates are being pulled apart sea floor spreading at Mid-Atlantic Ridge Eurasia and North America are separating at a rate of about 5 cm per year East African Rift Valley


30 Convergent Plate Boundaries two plates are coming together 3 associated surface feature –deep ocean trench and chain of volcanic islands –folded mountains –ocean plate subduction beneath continent


32 Transform Plate Boundaries one plate scrapes past the other San Andreas fault in California No mountain building or volcanism is associated with transform boundaries.


34 Mountains great masses of rock pushed high into the air by forces inside the earth may be folded, tilted, shaped into domes, or built up from volcanic material

35 Forming Mountains Folded mountains are formed when layers of rock are pushed into a series of wavelike folds by tremendous sideward forces Appalachian Mountains & Rocky Mountains

36 Forming Mountains Fault-block mountains formed when folded layers of rock crack, producing a fault Sierra Nevadas

37 Forming Mountains Domed mountains formed when magma flows up between two layers of rock Black Hills of shown rising from the Great Plains of South Dakota

38 Forming Mountains Volcanic mountains formed by the build up of lava and other materials thrown up when a volcano erupts Hawaiian Islands

39 Volcanoes A mountain formed around a crack in the earth’s crust Cracks in crust allow magma to rise up Some erupt quietly, others violently Magma  lava Obsidian Pumice

40 3 main types of volcanoes Shield volcanoes link –Kilauea in Hawaii link

41 3 main types of volcanoes Cinder cone link —Paricutin in Mexico link

42 3 main types of volcanoes Composite or Stratovolcano link link –Ranier in U.S.

43 Hot Springs Formed when underground water is heated by rock, and then flows to surface before cooling

44 Geysers A hot spring that throws its water into the air from time to time Almost all geysers are on 3 places: Yellowstone National Park, Iceland, and New Zealand How geysers work: –(understanding boiling)

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