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PLATE TECTONICS BOOK

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Review. "Finally, an up-to-date book on plate tectonics for the senior undergraduate! I've been on the look-out for such a text. The content looks excellent Laura. Plate Tectonics book. Read 4 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Can anyone today imagine the earth without its puzzle-piece construc. 6 books based on 2 votes: The Origin of Continents and Oceans by Alfred Wegener, Snowball Earth: The Story of the Great Global Catastrophe.


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Results 1 - 12 of Online shopping for Plate Tectonics from a great selection at Books Store. Scholarly books have been written about tectonics, but none by the key scientists -players themselves. In Plate Tectonics, editor Naomi Oreskes has assembled. Can anyone today imagine the earth without its puzzle-piece construction of plate tectonics? The very term, "plate tectonics," coined only thirty-five years ago.

Naomi Oreskes , Ph. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Can anyone today imagine the earth without its puzzle-piece construction of plate tectonics? The very term, "plate tectonics," coined only thirty-five years ago, is now part of the vernacular, part of everyone's understanding of the way the earth works. The theory, research, data collection, and analysis that came together in the late 's to constitute plate tectonics is one of the great scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century. Scholarly books have been written about tectonics, but none by the key scientists-players themselves.

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Plate Tectonics

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Rate this book Clear rating 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars. Snowball Earth: Scientists have determined this by analyzing seismic waves that pass through the layer. The depth of at which the asthenosphere is found is temperature -dependent. General perovskite structure.

Perovskite silicates e. Bridgmenite, Mg,Fe SiO3 are thought to be the main component of the lower mantle, making it the most common mineral in or on Earth. The mesosphere , sometimes known as the lower mantle , is more rigid and immobile than the asthenosphere. These extreme conditions create a transition zone in the upper mesosphere where minerals continuously change into various forms, or pseudomorphs.

Scientists identify this zone by changes in seismic velocity and sometimes physical barriers to movement. Below this transitional zone, the mesosphere is relatively uniform until it reaches the core The innermost chemical layer of the Earth, made chiefly of iron and nickel. The outer core is the only entirely liquid layer within the Earth. It starts at a depth of 2, km and extends to 5, km, making it about 2, km thick. In , the Danish geophysicist Inge Lehmann analyzed seismic data and was the first to prove a solid inner core existed within a liquid outer core.

The solid inner core is about 1, km thick, and the outer core is about 2, km thick. It seems like a contradiction that the hottest part of the Earth is solid, as the minerals making up the core The innermost chemical layer of the Earth, made chiefly of iron and nickel.

Immense pressure keeps the minerals of the inner core in a solid phase. The inner core grows slowly from the lower outer core solidifying as heat escapes the interior of the Earth and is dispersed to the outer layers. If the outer core were to stop circulating or become solid, the loss of the magnetic field would result in Earth getting stripped of life-supporting gases and water. This is what happened, and continues to happen, on Mars. A tectonic plate may be made of both oceanic and continental lithosphere connected by a passive margin.

Active margins are places where the oceanic and continental lithospheric tectonic plates meet and move relative to each other, such as the western coasts of North and South America. This movement is caused by frictional drag created between the plates and differences in plate densities. Schematic of plate boundary types.

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In a simplified model, there are three categories of tectonic plate boundaries. Convergent boundaries are places where plates move toward each other. At divergent boundaries, the plates move apart. At transform boundaries, the plates slide past each other. Geologic provinces of Earth. Orogenies are labeled light blue. Convergent boundaries, also called destructive boundaries, are places where two or more plates move toward each other.

Convergent boundary movement is divided into two types, subduction and collision , depending on the density of the involved plates. Continental lithosphere is of lower density and thus more buoyant than the underlying asthenosphere. Oceanic lithosphere is more dense than continental lithosphere , and, when old and cold, may even be more dense than asthenosphere. When plates of different densities converge, the higher density plate is pushed beneath the more buoyant plate in a process called subduction.

When continental plates converge without subduction occurring, this process is called collision. Video showing continental - oceanic subduction , causing volcanism. By Tanya Atwater and John Iwerks. The worldwide average rate of oceanic plate subduction is 25 miles per million years , about a half-inch per year.

As an oceanic plate descends, it pulls the ocean floor down into a trench. These trenches can be more than twice as deep as the average depth of the adjacent ocean basin , which is usually three to four km. The Mariana Trench , for example, approaches a staggering 11 km. Within the trench , ocean floor sediments are scraped together and compressed between the subducting and overriding plates.

Fragments of continental material, including microcontinents, riding atop the subducting plate may become sutured to the accretionary wedge and accumulate into a large area of land called a terrane. Vast portions of California are comprised of accreted terranes. When the subducting oceanic plate , or slab Name given to the subducting plate, where volatiles are driven out at depth, causing volcanism. The volatiles are released mostly by hydrated minerals that revert to non-hydrated minerals in these higher temperature and pressure conditions.

When mixed with asthenospheric material above the plate , the volatile lower the melting point of the mantle wedge , and through a process called flux melting it becomes liquid magma. The resulting volcanoes frequently appear as curved mountain chains, volcanic arcs, due to the curvature of the earth.

Both oceanic and continental plates can contain volcanic arcs. How subduction is initiated is still a matter of scientific debate. It is generally accepted that subduction zones start as passive margins, where oceanic and continental plates come together, and then gravity initiates subduction and converts the passive margin into an active one.

One hypothesis is gravity pulls the denser oceanic plate down or the plate can start to flow ductility at a low angle. Scientists seeking to answer this question have collected evidence that suggests a new subduction zone is forming off the coast of Portugal. Some scientists have proposed large earthquakes like the Lisbon earthquake may even have something to do with this process of creating a subduction zone , although the evidence is not definitive.

Another hypothesis proposes subduction happens at transform boundaries involving plates of different densities. Some plate boundaries look like they should be active, but show no evidence of subduction. The oceanic lithospheric plates on either side of the Atlantic Ocean for example, are denser than the underlying asthenosphere and are not subducting beneath the continental plates. One hypothesis is the bond Two or more atoms or ions that are connected chemically. Subduction zones are known for having the largest earthquakes and tsunamis ; they are the only places with fault surfaces large enough to create magnitude -9 earthquakes.

These subduction -zone earthquakes not only are very large, but also are very deep. When a subducting slab Name given to the subducting plate, where volatiles are driven out at depth, causing volcanism. If this energy is not gradually dispersed, it may force the plates to suddenly release along several hundred kilometers of the subduction zone.

All subduction zones have a forearc basin , a feature of the overriding plate found between the volcanic arc and oceanic trench. The forearc basin experiences a lot of faulting and deformation activity, particularly within the accretionary wedge. In some subduction zones, tensional forces working on the continental plate create a backarc basin on the interior side of the volcanic arc.

Some scientists have proposed a subduction mechanism called oceanic slab Name given to the subducting plate, where volatiles are driven out at depth, causing volcanism.

In this model, the descending oceanic slab Name given to the subducting plate, where volatiles are driven out at depth, causing volcanism. The continental plate behind the volcanic arc gets stretched like pizza dough until the surface cracks and collapses to form a backarc basin. If the extension activity is extensive and deep enough, a backarc basin can develop into a continental rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. These continental divergent boundaries may be less symmetrical than their mid-ocean ridge counterparts.

In places where numerous young buoyant oceanic plates are converging and subducting at a relatively high velocity, they may force the overlying continental plate to buckle and crack.

This is called back-arc faulting. Extensional back-arc faults pull rocks and chunks of plates apart. Compressional back-arc faults , also known as thrust faults , push them together. The dual spines of the Andes Mountain range include a example of compressional thrust faulting. The western spine is part of a volcanic arc. There are two styles of thrust fault deformation: The Sevier Orogeny in the western U. Flat- slab Name given to the subducting plate, where volatiles are driven out at depth, causing volcanism.

When the descending slab Name given to the subducting plate, where volatiles are driven out at depth, causing volcanism. The shallowly- subducting slab Name given to the subducting plate, where volatiles are driven out at depth, causing volcanism.

Oceanic-continental subduction occurs when an oceanic plate dives below a continental plate. This convergent boundary has a trench and mantle wedge and frequently, a volcanic arc. The boundaries of oceanic-oceanic subduction zones show very different activity from those involving oceanic - continental plates. Since both plates are made of oceanic lithosphere , it is usually the older plate that subducts because it is colder and denser. The volcanism on the overlying oceanic plate may remain hidden underwater..

If the volcanoes rise high enough the reach the ocean surface, the chain of volcanism forms an island arc. Examples of these island arcs include the Aleutian Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea, and numerous island chains scattered throughout the western Pacific Ocean.

When continental plates converge, during the closing of an ocean basin for example, subduction is not possible between the equally buoyant plates. Instead of one plate descending beneath another, the two masses of continental lithosphere slam together in a process known as collision.

Without subduction , there is no magma formation and no volcanism. Collision zones are characterized by tall, non- volcanic mountains; a broad zone of frequent, large earthquakes; and very little volcanism. When oceanic crust connected by a passive margin to continental crust completely subducts beneath a continent , an ocean basin closes, and continental collision begins. A reconstruction of the supercontinent Pangaea, showing approximate positions of modern continents.

The process of collision created Pangea , the supercontinent envisioned by Wegener as the key component of his continental drift hypothesis. For example, they estimate Pangea began separating million years ago.

Pangea was preceded by an earlier supercontinents , one of which being Rodinia , which existed 1. The tectonics of the Zagros Mountains. Note the Persian Gulf foreland basin.

A foreland basin is a feature that develops near mountain belts, as the combined mass of the mountains forms a depression in the lithospheric plate.

While foreland basins may occur at subduction zones, they are most commonly found at collision boundaries. The Persian Gulf is possibly the best modern example, created entirely by the weight of the nearby Zagros Mountains. If continental and oceanic lithosphere are fused on the same plate , it can partially subduct but its buoyancy prevents it from fully descending.

In very rare cases, part of a continental plate may become trapped beneath a descending oceanic plate in a process called obduction. When a portion of the continental crust is driven down into the subduction zone, due to its buoyancy it returns to the surface relatively quickly.

As pieces of the continental lithosphere break loose and migrate upward through the obduction zone, they bring along bits of the mantle and ocean floor and amend them on top of the continental plate. Rocks composed of this mantle and ocean-floor material are called ophiolites and they provide valuable information about the composition of the mantle.

The area of collision -zone deformation and seismic activity usually covers a broader area because continental lithosphere is plastic and malleable. Unlike subduction -zone earthquakes, which tend to be located along a narrow swath near the convergent boundary, collision -zone earthquakes may occur hundreds of kilometers from the boundary between the plates.

The Eurasian continent has many examples of collision -zone deformations covering vast areas. The Pyrenees mountains begin in the Iberian Peninsula and cross into France. Also, there are the Alps stretching from Italy to central Europe; the Zagros mountains from Arabia to Iran; and Himalaya mountains from the Indian subcontinent to central Asia. At divergent boundaries, sometimes called constructive boundaries, lithospheric plates move away from each other. There are two types of divergent boundaries, categorized by where they occur: Continental rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression.

A mid-ocean ridge usually originates in a continental plate as a rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. The separate pieces continue to drift apart and become individual continents. This process is known as rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. In places where the continental plates are very thick, they reflect so much heat back into the mantle it develops strong convection currents that push super-heated mantle material up against the overlying plate , softening it.

Tensional forces created by this convective upwelling begin to pull the weakened plate apart. As it stretches, it becomes thinner and develops deep cracks called extension or normal faults. Eventually plate sections located between large faults drop into deep depressions known as rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. The shoulders of these grabens are called horsts.

If only one side of a section drops, it is called a half-graben. Depending on the conditions, rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. While seemingly occurring at random, rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression.

When continental rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. This is the most common surface- fracture pattern to develop on an evenly expanding sphere because it uses the least amount of energy. Using the soccer ball model, rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. These seams with little or no tectonic activity are called failed rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. A failed rift arm is still a weak spot in the continental plate ; even without the presence of active extension faults , it may develop into a called an aulacogen.

One example of a failed rift arm is the Mississippi Valley Embayment, a depression through which the upper end of the Mississippi River flows. Occasionally connected rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression.

In places where the rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. Narrow rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. The East African rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression.

Lake Baikal in Russia is another. Broad rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. The Basin and Range region located in the western United States is a type of broad rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression.

The Wasatch Fault , which also created the Wasatch Mountain Range in the state of Utah, forms the eastern divergent boundary of this broad rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression.

The narrow East African Rift. They may also exhibit volcanism. Unlike the flux-melted magma found in subduction zones, rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. As the continental plates are pulled apart, they create a region of low pressure that melts the lithosphere and draws it upwards.

When this molten magma reaches the weakened and fault -riddled rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. Examples of young rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. This volcano erupts lava Liquid rock on the surface of the Earth. South America and Africa rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression.

Video by Tanya Atwater. Progression from rift to mid-ocean ridge. As rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. This is the process that gives birth to a new ocean, much like the narrow Red Sea emerged with the movement of Arabia away from Africa. As the oceanic lithosphere continues to diverge, a mid-ocean ridge is formed. Mid-ocean ridges , also known as spreading centers , have several distinctive features. They are the only places on earth that create new oceanic lithosphere.

Decompression melting in the rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. The amount of new lithosphere being created at mid-ocean ridges is highly significant.

These undersea rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. Despite this, most mid- oceanic ridge volcanism remains unmapped because the volcanoes are located deep on the ocean floor. In rare cases, such as a few locations in Iceland, rift Area of extended continental lithosphere, forming a depression. The ridge feature is created by the accumulation of hot lithosphere material, which is lighter than the dense underlying asthenosphere.

This chunk of isostatically buoyant lithosphere sits partially submerged and partially exposed on the asthenosphere , like an ice cube floating in a glass of water. As the ridge continues to spread, the lithosphere material is pulled away from the area of volcanism and becomes colder and denser.

As it continues to spread and cool, the lithosphere settles into wide swathes of relatively featureless topography called abyssal plains with lower topography. This model of ridge formation suggests the sections of lithosphere furthest away from the mid-ocean ridges will be the oldest.

2 Plate Tectonics

Scientists have tested this idea by comparing the age of rocks located in various locations on the ocean floor. Rocks found near ridges are younger than those found far away from any ridges. Sediment accumulation patterns also confirm the idea of sea-floor spreading. Sediment layers tend to be thinner near mid-ocean ridges , indicating it has had less time to build up. As mentioned in the section on paleomagnetism and the development of plate tectonic theory , scientists noticed mid-ocean ridges contained unique magnetic anomalies that show up as symmetrical striping on both sides of the ridge.

Very hot magma has no magnetic field. As the oceanic plates get pulled apart, the magma cools below the Curie point, the temperature below which a magnetic field gets locked into magnetic minerals. This paleomagnetic pattern provides a great historical record of ocean-floor movement, and is used to reconstruct past tectonic activity and determine rates of ridge spreading. Video of the breakup of Pangea and formation of the northern Atlantic Ocean.

By Tanya Atwater. Thanks to their distinctive geology, mid-ocean ridges are home to some of the most unique ecosystems ever discovered. The ridges are often studded with hydrothermal vents, deep fissures that allow seawater to circulate through the upper portions of the oceanic plate and interact with hot rock.

The super-heated seawater rises back up to the surface of the plate , carrying dissolved gasses and minerals , and small particulates. The resulting emitted hydrothermal water looks like black underwater smoke.

2 Plate Tectonics – An Introduction to Geology

Scientists had known about these geothermal areas on the ocean floor for some time. However, it was not until , when scientists piloting a deep submergence vehicle, the Alvin, discovered a thriving community of organisms clustered around these hydrothermal vents. These unique organisms, which include foot-long tube worms taller than people, live in the complete darkness of the ocean floor deprived of oxygen and sunlight.

They use geothermal energy provided by the vents and a process called bacterial chemosynthesis to feed on sulfur compounds. Before this discovery, scientists believed life on earth could not exist without photosynthesis, a process that requires sunlight. A transform boundary, sometimes called a strike-slip or conservative boundary, is where the lithospheric plates slide past each other in the horizontal plane.

This movement is described based on the perspective of an observer standing on one of the plates , looking across the boundary at the opposing plate. Dextral , also known as right-lateral , movement describes the opposing plate moving to the right. Sinistral , also known as left lateral , movement describe the opposing plate moving to the left.

Most transform boundaries are found on the ocean floor , around mid-ocean ridges. These boundaries form aseismic fracture zones, filled with earthquake-free transform faults , to accommodate different rates of spreading occurring at the ridge. Map of the San Andreas fault, showing relative motion. Some transform boundaries produce significant seismic activity, primarily as earthquakes, with very little mountain-building or volcanism. This type of transform boundary may contain a single fault or series of faults , which develop in places where plate tectonic stresses are transferred to the surface.

As with other types of active boundaries, if the plates are unable to shear past each other the tectonic forces will continue to build up. If the built up energy between the plates is suddenly released, the result is an earthquake. In the eyes of humanity, the most significant transform faults occur within continental plates , and have a shearing motion that frequently produces moderate-to-large magnitude earthquakes. A transpressional strike-slip fault, causing uplift called a restraining bend.

Bends along transform faults may create compressional or extensional forces that cause secondary faulting zones.. Transpression occurs where there is a component of compression in addition to the shearing motion.

These forces build up around the area of the bend, where the opposing plates are restricted from sliding past each other. As the forces continue to build up, they create mountains in the restraining bend around the fault.

The Big Bend area, located in the southern part of the San Andreas Fault includes a large area of transpression where many mountains have been built, moved, and even rotated. A transtensional strike-slip fault. Transtension zones require a fault that includes a releasing bend, where the plates are being pulled apart by extensional forces.

Depressions and sometimes volcanism develop in the releasing bend, along the fault. Wallace dry Creek on the Carrizo Plain, California. Note as the creek flows from the northern mountainous part of the image, it takes a sharp right as viewed from the flow of water , then a sharp left.

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