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Plate Tectonics

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Ch. 16. Plate Tectonics. Layers of the Earth. Thickness: 5 – 40 km Composition: Oxygen, Silicon, Aluminum, Calcium, Iron, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium Temperature: Up to 1,600 degrees F. Crust. Thickness: 2,900 km

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Thickness: 5 – 40 km

Composition: Oxygen, Silicon, Aluminum,

Calcium, Iron, Sodium,

Potassium, Magnesium

Temperature: Up to 1,600 degrees F


Thickness: 2,900 km

  • Composition: Silicon, Oxygen, Iron,


  • Temperature: 1,600 F to 8,000 F

The uppermost part of the mantle is the lithosphere.

  • Lithos means “stone”.
  • The soft layer of the mantle, beneath the lithosphere, is the asthenosphere. Asthenes means “weak”.
outer core

Thickness: 2,250 km

Composition: Iron, Nickel

Temperature: 2,200 F to 11,000 F

Outer Core
inner core

Thickness: 1,200 km

Composition: Iron, Nickel

Temperature: 9,032 F to 13,000 F

Inner Core
layers of the earth1
Layers of the Earth
  • Skin of the peach is the crust
  • Meat of the peach is the mantle
  • Pit of the peach is the core
types of rocks
  • Igneous
  • Sedimentary
  • Metamorphic
igneous rocks
  • Formed from molten material including volcanic lava, ash, or bombs as well as magma below Earth’s surface.
sedimentary rocks
  • Made of layers that have been pressed or cemented together
  • Pebbles, sand, silt, or clay are sediments
  • Shells and bones can also be sediments
types of sedimentary rocks




metamorphic rocks
  • Rocks that are changed by intense heat and pressure while inside Earth’s surface
  • Igneous, sedimentary, and even metamorphic rocks can be changed into different metamorphic rocks.
rock cycle
  • The rock cycle is a never-ending process of rocks forming, weathering, and changing into other rocks
Faults occur because forces inside Earth cause Earth’s plates to move, placing stress on or near the plate edge.
when rocks break they move along faults
When rocks break, they move along faults.
  • Applied forces cause rocks to undergo elastic deformation.
  • When elastic limits are passed, rocks break.
earthquake vibrations produced by breaking rock
Rocks break, move along the fault, return to original shapes.

Rock on one side of a fault can move over, under, or past each other along fault lines.

Earthquake - vibrations produced by breaking rock.
seismic waves
Are waves generated by an earthquake; can move the ground forward, backward, up & down, side to side.

Focus - an earthquake’s point of energy release.

Seismic waves

A seismic wave’s speed and direction change as the wave moves through different layers with changes in densities.

seismograph measures seismic waves
Seismograph - measures seismic waves.
  • Consists of a rotating drum of paper + a pendulum with an attached pen.
  • Makes a paper record of a seismic event called a seismogram.
Shadow zones do not receive seismic waves because the waves are bent or stopped by materials of different density.

Generally increases with depth as pressure increases.


changes in seismic wave speed allowed detection of boundaries between earth s layers
Changes in seismic wave speed allowed detection of boundaries between Earth’s layers.
although earthquakes are natural events they kill many people and cause a lot of damage
Although earthquakes are natural events, they kill many people and cause a lot of damage.
  • Seismologists are scientists who study earthquakes.
divergent plate boundary
Divergent Plate Boundary
  • A place where two plates move apart, or diverge
  • Most occur along the mid-ocean ridge where sea-floor spreading occurs.
mid ocean ridge
Mid-ocean ridge
  • Mountains that lie mostly hidden under the ocean
  • Iceland is a part of the mid-ocean ridge that rises above the surface.
sea floor spreading
Sea floor spreading
  • The sea floor spreads apart along both sides of a mid-ocean ridge as new crust is added.
  • As a result, the ocean floors move like conveyor belts, carrying the continents along with them.
rift valley
Rift valley
  • Forms along the divergent boundary, only it forms on land
convergent plate boundary
Convergent plate boundary
  • The place where two plates come together, or converge
  • When two plates collide, the density of the plates determines which one comes out on top.
transform boundary
Transform Boundary
  • A place where two plates slip past each other, moving in opposite directions
  • Earthquakes often occur along these boundaries.
  • A process in which the ocean floor sinks beneath a deep-ocean trench and back into the mantle.