Presentation on theme: "Classroom presentations to accompany Understanding Earth, 3rd edition prepared by Peter Copeland and William Dupré University of Houston Chapter 20 Plate."— Presentation transcript:
Classroom presentations to accompany Understanding Earth, 3rd edition prepared by Peter Copeland and William Dupré University of Houston Chapter 20 Plate Tectonics: The Unifying Theory
Plate Tectonics Fundamental concept of geoscience Integrates from many branches First suggested based on geology and paleontology Fully embraced after evidence from geophysics
Fig. 20.3 Mosaic of Earth’s Plates Peter W. Sloss, NOAA-NESDIS-NGDC
Plates Group of rocks all moving in the same direction Can have both oceanic and continental crust or just one kind.
Types of plate boundaries divergent:mid-ocean ridges convergent:collision zones volcanic arcs strike-slip:San Andreas fault Alpine fault, N.Z.
Divergent plate boundaries Usually start within continents— grow to become ocean basin
Features of Mid Ocean Ridges Central rift valley (width is inversely proportional to the rate of spreading) Shallow-focus earthquakes Almost exclusively basalt
Continental Rifts East Africa, Rio Grande rift Beginning of ocean formation (may not get that far) Rifting often begins at a triple junction (two spreading centers get together to form ocean basin, one left behind). Rock types: basalt and sandstone
Convergent boundaries New crust created at MOR—old crust destroyed (recycled) at subduction zones (i.e., the Earth is not expanding) Relative important densities: continental crust ≈ 2.8 g/cm 3 oceanic crust ≈ 3.2 g/cm 3 asthenosphere ≈ 3.3 g/cm 3
Convergent boundaries Three types: ocean–oceanPhilippines ocean–continentAndes continent–continentHimalaya
Ocean–Ocean Island arcs: Tectonic belts of high seismic ????? High heat flow arc of active volcanoes (andesitic) Bordered by a submarine trench
Continent–Continent In ocean–continent boundaries convergence, collision convergence is taken up by subduction (± thrusting). Continent–continent boundaries, convergence is accommodated by Folding (shortening and thickening) Strike-slip faulting Underthrusting (intracontinental subduction)
Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau Product of the collision between India and Asia. Collision began about 45 M yr. ago, continues today. Before collision, southern Asia looked something like the Andes do today.
Spreading Centers Offset by Transform Boundary Fig. 20.7
Wilson cycle Plate tectonics repeats itself: rifting, sea- floor spreading, subduction, collision, rifting, … Plate tectonics (or something like it) seems to have been active since the beginning of Earth’s history.
Fig. 20.11 Age of Seafloor Crust R. Dietmar Muller, 1997
Relative Velocity and Direction of Plate Movement Fig. 20.12 Data from C. Demets, R.G> Gordon, D.F. Argus, and S. Sten, Model Nuvel-1, 1990
Fig. 20.13 Opening of the Atlantic by Plate Motion After Phillips & Forsyth, 1972
Rock assemblages and plate tectonics Each plate tectonic environment produces a distinctive group of rocks. By studying the rock record of an area, we can understand the tectonic history of the region.
Tectonic reconstructions A variety of evidence traces the motion of continents over time: Paleomagnetism Deformational structures Environments of deposition Fossils Distribution of volcanoes
Fig. 20.23 Assembly of Pangaea I.W.D. Dalziel, 1995
Fig. 20.24a Breakup of Pangaea 200 million years ago After Dietz & Holden, 1970
Fig. 20.24b Breakup of Pangaea 140 million years ago After Dietz & Holden, 1970
Fig. 20.24c Breakup of Pangaea 65 million years ago After Dietz & Holden, 1970
Fig. 20.24d Breakup of Pangaea Today After Dietz & Holden, 1970
Driving mechanism of plate tectonics Thought to be convection of the mantle. Friction at base of the lithosphere transfers energy from the asthenosphere to the lithosphere. Convection may have overturned asthenosphere 4–6 times.
What tectonics theory explains Distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes Relationship of age and height of mountain belts Age distribution of oceanic crust Magnetic information in rocks
Questions about plate tectonics What do we really know about convection cells in the mantle? Why are some continents completely surrounded by spreading centers? Why are tectonics in continental crust and oceanic crust so different?
Examining Deep-sea Drill Cores Texas A&M University
After map by Sclater & Meinke Age of the Ocean Basins