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Plate Tectonics Chapter 17 Great Idea: The entire earth is still changing, due to the slow convection of soft, hot rocks deep within the planet.

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Presentation on theme: "Plate Tectonics Chapter 17 Great Idea: The entire earth is still changing, due to the slow convection of soft, hot rocks deep within the planet."— Presentation transcript:

1 Plate Tectonics Chapter 17 Great Idea: The entire earth is still changing, due to the slow convection of soft, hot rocks deep within the planet.

2 Chapter Outline The Dynamic Earth Plate Tectonics: A Unifying View of Earth Another Look at Volcanoes and Earthquakes

3 The Dynamic Earth Small-scale changes –Construction site Erosion by rain Large-scale changes –Volcanoes –Earthquakes –Erosion

4 The Case of the Disappearing Mountains Erosion –Few hundred million years –Mountains continually forming Earth’s surface is not static

5 A map of the world ’ s continents reveals the similar shapes of coastlines on the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Map of continents

6 The Movement of the Continents F. Bacon –Continents like a puzzle Wegener –Continental Drift Continents in motion Current Evidence –Ocean Floors –Magnetic Reversals –Rock Ages

7 The German scientist A. Wegener ( ) postulated that a supercontinent once existed — and later broke apart — called Pangea.

8 Once the motion of continents was determined, scientists could predict how the Earth ’ s surface might have looked in the past. More than 200 million years ago, the present- day continents were joined together as the ancient continent Pangaea. Plate Reconstructions

9 Ocean Floors Mapping –Ocean floor dynamic Canyons, mountains Mid-Atlantic Ridge –Earthquakes, volcanoes, lava flows

10 Magnetic Reversals Earth’s magnetic field –Changes periodically Magnetite –Crystals in lava align to magnetic field Paleomagnetism Seafloor Spreading –New rock comes to surface

11 Measures of tectonic rates: magnetic:

12 Magnetic stripes that parallel ocean ridges must form as new magma wells up from the fissure and pushes out to the sides. In this cross-sectional view, older rocks lie farther from the ridge. (The “ lithosphere ” includes the uppermost mantle and all of the crust.) Spreading Ridge magmatism (Iceland)

13 Measurements in the late 1950s and early 1960s revealed magnetic stripes running nearly parallel to the Vancouver province and Washington state coastlines. Magnetism of the sea floor

14 Rock Ages Radioactive Isotopes –Rocks near Mid-Atlantic Ridge younger –Rocks farther away older

15 New Support for the Theory Measuring motion of continents Radio Astronomy –Measured arrival of radio waves –Repeated over several years North America and Europe –Separating at 5 cm per year

16 Plate Tectonics: A Unifying View of Earth

17 Plate Tectonics –Large-scale surface features –Related phenomena Tectonic plates –Rigid, moving sheet of rock –Crust and upper mantle –Continental 100 km thick Lower density (granite) –Oceanic 8-10 km thick Dense rock (basalt) Earth’s surface –¼ continent, ¾ water

18 The major plates of the Earth with their directions of motion shown by arrows. Plate motions

19 The Convecting Mantle Mantle convection –Motion driven by Earth’s interior heat energy Sources of energy –Gravitational potential energy –Decay of radioactive elements Movement –Heat moves to cooler regions –Convection cells in mantle –Very slow 200 million years for one cycle

20 In the 1960’s, Harry Hess, Robert Deitz and other geologists and oceanographers, put forward the hypothesis of ‘seafloor spreading.’ The key data for this hypothesis were the topographic maps of the ocean floors…. Seafloor Spreading:

21 The ‘Ring of Fire’

22 Earth’s lithosphere is a mosaic of 13 major plates: Plate boundaries may be convergent, divergent, and transform….

23 Earth’s lithosphere is a mosaic of 13 major plates:

24 Plate boundaries may be convergent, divergent, and transform….

25 Divergent, oceanic boundaries:

26 Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland

27 Divergent, continental boundaries:

28 A satellite photograph of a portion of Africa ’ s Great Rift Valley. The narrow body of water defines a divergent plate boundary where new plate material is being created and plates are moving out to either side. The ‘Afar triangle’

29 Gulfs formed between rifted continental fragments:

30 Convergent Oceanic boundary:

31 Convergent Ocean-Continent boundary:

32 Continent-Continent collision boundary:

33 Transform Plate Boundary Two plates move past each other –NOT smooth –Earthquakes as a result of movement

34 Transform, or ‘Strike Slip’ boundaries:

35 The principal layers, which differ in chemical composition and physical properties, are the core, the mantle, the crust, and the atmosphere (not shown). When looked at in detail, each of these layers is itself composed of smaller layers. The layers of Earth

36 Volcanoes and Earthquakes- Evidence of Earth’s Inner Forces Volcano –Magma breaks through surface Earthquake –Rocks breaks along fault –Energy transmitted as wave –Richter scale

37 A cross-section of a volcano reveals a magma chamber, which stores molten rock, and a system of pipes, cracks, and vents that lead to the surface. The terms in the orange area refer to the kinds of rock formations resulting from cooled magma. Xenoliths are the original rocks encased in this cooled magma. Volcanic settings

38 A divergent plate boundary defines a line along which new plate material is formed from volcanic rock. Divergent Plate Boundaries

39 Subduction magmatism

40 Kauai, currently the oldest, is between 3 and 5.5 million years old, while Hawaii, the youngest, is less than 0.8 million years old. Hawaiian example of plate motion

41 Another Look at Volcanoes and Earthquakes Plates and Volcanism –Divergent Plate Boundaries –Convergent Plate Boundaries Subduction zones –Hotspots Source stationary, plates move Chain of volcanoes Earthquakes –At plate boundaries or elsewhere

42 Seismology: Exploring Earth’s Interior with Earthquakes Seismology –Study of sound vibrations within earth –Used to determine earth’s inner structure Seismic waves –Compressional or longitudinal –Transverse or shear waves

43 Seismology: Exploring Earth’s Interior with Earthquakes

44 How do we know that the Earth’s tectonic plates move (continental drift)? a)Observation of the Earth’s rivers b)Direct measurements, observation of the rifts in the ocean floors, magnetic reversals c)Calculations by Einstein d)Erosion of mountains A Clicker Question.

45 The Geological History of North America Northeastern Canada and Greenland –Several billion years old Western US –Terranes Added to continent over time Appalachian Mountains –Formed million years ago –Continental-continental convergence zone Rocky Mountains –60 million years ago –Warping, folding and fracturing of continent The Colorado Plateau –Gentle uplift The Sierra Nevada –Molten rock pushed up sediments


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