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The Structure of the Earth and Plate Tectonics. 2 Structure of the Earth The Earth is made up of 3 main layers: –Core –Mantle –Crust Inner core Outer.

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Presentation on theme: "The Structure of the Earth and Plate Tectonics. 2 Structure of the Earth The Earth is made up of 3 main layers: –Core –Mantle –Crust Inner core Outer."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Structure of the Earth and Plate Tectonics

2 2 Structure of the Earth The Earth is made up of 3 main layers: –Core –Mantle –Crust Inner core Outer core Mantle Crust

3 3 The Crust This is where we live! The Earth’s crust is made of two types: Continental Crust - thick (10-70km) - buoyant (less dense than oceanic crust) - mostly old Oceanic Crust - thin (~7 km) - dense (sinks under continental crust) - young

4 4 How do we know what the Earth is made of? Seismic waves travel at different speeds through the earth. Speed depends on density and composition.

5 5 What is Plate Tectonics?

6 6 If you look at a map of the world, you may notice that some of the continents could fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

7 7 Plate Tectonics The Earth’s crust is divided into 12 major plates which move in various directions. This plate motion causes them to collide, pull apart, or scrape against each other causing different landforms to be created and natural disasters to occur.

8 8 World Plates

9 9 What are tectonic plates made of? Plates are made of rigid lithosphere. The lithosphere is made up of the crust and the upper part of the mantle.

10 10 What lies beneath the tectonic plates? Below the lithosphere (which makes up the tectonic plates) is the asthenosphere.

11 11 Plate Movement “Plates” of lithosphere are moved around by the underlying hot mantle convection cells.

12 Practical Exercise 1 Supercontinents!

13 Supercontinent-Pangaea

14 Evidence for Pangaea The continents look like they fit together. Similar types of rock and evidence of same climatic conditions found on several continents.

15 Similar fossils have been found on continents that once could have been together.

16 Why are they apart now? Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift states that continents once formed a single landmass and have drifted to their current position.

17 Sea-Floor Spreading The process by which new oceanic lithosphere forms as magma rises toward the surface and solidifies. Creates mid-ocean ridges.


19 What happens at tectonic plate boundaries?

20 20 Divergent- Spread Apart Convergent- Collide Transform- Slide Past Three types of plate boundary

21 21 Spreading ridges –As plates move apart new material is erupted to fill the gap –Example-Mid-Atlantic Ridge Divergent Boundaries

22 22 Age of Oceanic Crust Courtesy of

23 23 Iceland has a divergent plate boundary running through its middle Iceland: An example of continental rifting

24 24 There are three styles of convergent plate boundaries –Continent-continent collision –Continent-oceanic crust collision –Ocean-ocean collision Convergent Boundaries

25 25 Forms mountains, e.g. European Alps, Himalayas Continent-Continent Collision

26 26 Himalayas

27 27 SUBDUCTION-one plate moves under another and sinks into the mantle. Continent-Oceanic Crust Collision

28 28 Oceanic lithosphere subducts underneath the continental lithosphere Oceanic lithosphere heats and dehydrates as it subsides The melt rises forming volcanism E.g. The Andes Subduction

29 29 When two oceanic plates collide, one runs over the other which causes it to sink into the mantle forming a subduction zone. The subducting plate is bent downward to form a very deep depression in the ocean floor called a trench. The worlds deepest parts of the ocean are found along trenches. –E.g. The Mariana Trench is 11 km deep! Ocean-Ocean Plate Collision

30 30

31 31 Cause earthquakes Transform Boundaries Above: View of the San Andreas fault

32 32

33 33 Draw the outline of the continents.

34 34

35 …what’s the connection? Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics…

36 36 An area where lithospheric plate boundaries meet and cause lots of earthquakes and volcanoes. Pacific Ring of Fire

37 37 - Subduction - Rifting - Hotspots Volcanoes are formed by:

38 38 Pacific Ring of Fire Hotspot volcanoes

39 39 Hot mantle plumes breaching the surface in the middle of a tectonic plate What are Hotspot Volcanoes? Photo: Tom Pfeiffer / The Hawaiian island chain are examples of hotspot volcanoes.

40 40 The tectonic plate moves over a fixed hotspot forming a chain of volcanoes. The volcanoes get younger from one end to the other.

41 …what’s the connection? Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics…

42 42 As with volcanoes, earthquakes are not randomly distributed over the globe When built up pressure from inside the earth cause plates to move earthquakes occur. Figure showing the distribution of earthquakes around the globe

43 43 Where do earthquakes form? Figure showing the tectonic setting of earthquakes

44 44 Plate Tectonics Summary The Earth is made up of 3 main layers ___, ____, _____. On the surface of the Earth are _______ that slowly move around the globe Plates are made of crust and upper mantle called the ______________ There are 2 types of plates _____ ________ There are 3 types of plate boundaries ___, ___, ____ ________ and _______ are closely linked to the margins of the tectonic plates.

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