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Plate Tectonic Theory. TXT pg. 106 Chapter 3…section 5. Definitions to know. Plates: Sections of the lithosphere that are fitted together along cracks Scientific Theory: Well tested concept that explains observations. Theory.

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Plate tectonic theory

Plate Tectonic Theory

TXT pg. 106

Chapter 3…section 5

Definitions to know
Definitions to know

  • Plates: Sections of the lithosphere that are fitted together along cracks

  • Scientific Theory: Well tested concept that explains observations


  • Pieces of the earth’s lithosphare are in slow, constant motion, driven by convection currents in the mantle.

  • Explains the formation, movement, and subduction of Earth’s plates.

How do they move

  • Movements in the mantle cause the plate to move

  • Gravity pulls one side of the plate down by subduction, causing the rest of the plate to move forward

  • As they move, the collide, pull apart, or grind with other plates

  • This causes the formation of volcanoes, mountain ranges, and deep ocean trenches

Plate boundaries
Plate Boundaries

  • Extend into the lithosphere

  • Faults: (Form along the boundaires)Break in the earth’s crust where rocks have slipped past each other

  • 3 Kinds:

    • Divergent

    • Convergent

    • Transform

Divergent boundaries
Divergent Boundaries

  • Plates move apart (Diverge)

  • Most occur on mid ocean ridges

  • Can occur on land Causing a Rift valley (deep valley where the plates slide apart

    • Example: Death Valley

Convergent boundaries
Convergent Boundaries

  • Where 2 plates come together

  • When they converge, they will collide. Density decides which one gets forced up and which one down….More dense plate sinks under other past

  • Oceanic Crust is more dense than continental crust

  • When continental crust collides, neither is more dense, so mountain ranges form.

Transform boundary
Transform Boundary

  • 2 plates slide past each other in opposite directions (Like rubbing your hands together)

  • Crust is not created or destroyed here

  • Earthquakes happen at transform boundaries

Pangea proof
Pangea Proof

  • By proving that the earth’s plates are moving, scientists were able to show that there was once a pangea and that the continents broke apart and moved to their current position.

  • Pg. 110 shows this in motion and the time span