Plate tectonics has emerged as one of the grand unifying theories of geology. It connects seemingly unrelated features and events of the planet — its continents and oceans, its mountains, its volcanoes and earthquakes — to a single global process. That process is the slow movement of plates on the Earth’s surface. These rigid plates are continually being formed, altered, and consumed. They move on the mantle below and carry the continents along with them.
Topic: Earth Science
Subtopic: Plate Tectonics
Keywords: Geology, Plate tectonics, Earth (Planet)--Mantle, Earth movements
Most earthquakes occur at plate boundaries. Where plates spread apart, earthquakes are shallow and small.
Seismologists study shock, or seismic, waves as they travel through the Earth’s interior.
Today, matching belts of sedimentary rock, known as the Old Red Sandstone, are found in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, and eastern North America.
When oceanic or continental plates slide past each other in opposite directions, or move in the same direction but at different speeds, a transform fault boundary is formed.
Plates move apart from each other along divergent boundaries.
The most geologically active regions on Earth are where plates collide.
The mantle is mostly solid rock, but because it is hot, it flows in slow, circulating patterns.