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Plate Tectonics. Liz LaRosa for use with my 5 th Grade Science Class 2009 . Earth’s Layers. The Earth's rocky outer crust solidified billions of years ago, soon after the Earth formed.

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Plate Tectonics

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Plate tectonics

Plate Tectonics

Liz LaRosa for use with my 5th Grade Science Class 2009

Earth s layers

Earth’s Layers

The Earth's rocky outer crust solidified billions of years ago, soon after the Earth formed.

This crust is not a solid shell; it is broken up into huge, thick plates that drift atop the soft, underlying mantle.

The crust

The Crust

  • Outermost layer

  • 5 – 100 km thick

  • Made of Oxygen, Silicon, Aluminum

The mantle

The Mantle

  • Layer of Earth between the crust and the core

  • Contains most of the Earth’s mass

  • Has more magnesium and less aluminum and silicon than the crust

  • Is denser than the crust

The core

The Core

  • Below the mantle and to the center of the Earth

  • Believed to be mostly Iron, smaller amounts of Nickel, almost no Oxygen, Silicon, Aluminum, or Magnesium

Tectonic plates

Tectonic Plates

Plate tectonics1

Plate Tectonics

  • Greek – “tektonikos” of a builder

  • Pieces of the lithosphere that move around

  • Each plate has a name

  • Fit together like jigsaw puzzles

  • Float on top of mantle similar to ice cubes in a bowl of water

Continental drift

Continental Drift

Alfred Wegener 1900’s

Continents were once a single land mass that drifted apart.

Fossils of the same plants and animals are found on different continents

Called this supercontinent Pangea, Greek for “all Earth”

245 Million years ago

Split again – Laurasia & Gondwana 180 million years ago

Evidence of pangea

Evidence of Pangea

Sea floor spreading

Sea Floor Spreading

Sea floor spreading1

Sea Floor Spreading

  • Mid Ocean Ridges – underwater mountain chains that run through the Earth’s Basins

  • Magma rises to the surface and solidifies and new crust forms

  • Older Crust is pushed

    farther away from the ridge

How plates move

How Plates Move

Different types of boundaries

Different Types of Boundaries

Divergent boundary arabian and african plates

Divergent Boundary – Arabian and African Plates

Arabian Plate

Red Sea

African Plate

Divergent boundary iceland

Divergent Boundary – Iceland

Divergent boundary oceanic

Divergent Boundary - Oceanic

Divergent boundary continental

Divergent Boundary - Continental

Convergent boundary indian and eurasian plates

Convergent Boundary – Indian and Eurasian Plates

Eurasian Plate

Indian Plate

Convergent boundary oceanic continental

Convergent Boundary – Oceanic & Continental &

Convergent boundary oceanic oceanic

Convergent Boundary – Oceanic & Oceanic

Note – plates are reversed &

Convergent boundaries continental

Convergent Boundaries - Continental &

Transform boundary san andreas fault

Transform Boundary – San Andreas Fault



  • Name the 3 main layers of the Earth

  • What is a tectonic plate?

  • What was Pangea?

  • What is Sea-Floor spreading?

  • Name the three different types of plate boundaries and one location on Earth for each one

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