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In the outer core temperature and pressure will increase with depth. Asthenosphere: hot, weak, plastic Lithosphere: cool, rigid, brittle
The crust of the earth is mobile, so there is a slow build‐up of stress within rocks. When the pressure is suddenly released, parts of the surface experience an intense shaking motion that typically lasts for only a few seconds. The plane of rupture is called a fault and the location of movement is the hypocenter or focus. The point immediately above the focus on the land surface is called the epicenter. The depth of focus is important in determining the amount of surface damage that results. Three broad categories are recognised: o o o Deep focus: 300‐700km Intermidiate focus: 70‐300km Shallow focus: 0‐70km
Shallow‐focus rearthquakes cause the greatest amount of damage and account for approximately 75% of all earthquakes. The majority of earthquakes occur along plate boundaries (interplate). Intraplate earthquakes are less frequent, within plate interiors. The most powerful earthquakes are found at destructive, interplate margins. The distribution of earthquakes reveals the following pattern of tectonic activity: (PLATE TECHNOTONICS MAP) o o o The ocean fracture zone (OFZ) – a belt of activity through the oceans along the mid‐ocean ridges, coming ashore in Africa, the Red Sea, the Dead Sea rift and California The continental fracture zone (CFZ) – a belt of activity following the mountain ranges from Spain, via the Alps, to the Middle East, the Himalayas to the East Indies and then circumscribing the Pacific. Scattered earthquakes in continental interiors (associated with volcanic islands)
Instead. however. resist downward motion. UNIT 4 Plate Boundaries: 1. neither is subducted because the continental rocks are relatively light and. The Marianas Trench. OceanicOceanic Convergence: When two oceanic plates converge one is usually subducted under the other and in the process a deep oceanic trench is formed. Such earthquakes are often accompanied by uplift of the land by as much as a few metres. After the collision. . Oceanic‐oceanic plate convergence also results in the formation of undersea volcanoes. The collision of India into Asia 50 million years ago caused the Eurasian Plate to crumple up and override the Indian Plate. the erupted lava and volcanic debris pile up on the ocean floor until a submarine volcano rises above sea level to form an island volcano. for example. Over millions of years. Most of this growth occurred during the past 10 million years. Even though the oceanic plate as a whole sinks smoothly and continuously into the subduction trench. These smaller pieces become locked in place for long periods of time before moving suddenly and generating large earthquakes. like two colliding icebergs. the crust tends to buckle and be pushed upward or sideways. Destructive (convergent or subductive) margins are well developed along the CFZ There are 3 types of convergent boundaries: OceanicContinental Convergence: When an oceanic plate pushes into and subducts under a continental plate. ContinentalContinental Convergence: When two continents meet head‐on. the overriding continental plate is lifted up and a mountain range is created. is a deep trench created as the result of the Phillipine Plate subducting under the Pacific Plate. the deepest part of the subducting plate breaks into smaller pieces. Such volcanoes are typically strung out in chains called island arcs. the slow continuous convergence of the two plates over millions of years pushed up the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau to their present heights.
Conservative (transform faults) Transform‐Fault Boundaries are where two plates are sliding horizontally past one another. Along it. occur on land. however. and are generally defined by shallow earthquakes. 3. producing zig‐zag plate margins. when a diverging boundary occurs on land a 'rift'. While the creation of new crust adds mass to Iceland on both sides of the boundary. The San Andreas fault zone in California is a transform fault that connects the East Pacific Rise. with the South Gorda ‐‐ Juan de Fuca ‐‐ Explorer Ridge. new crust is created on both sides of the diverging boundary. Divergent (constructive) At divergent boundaries new crust is created as wo or more plates pull away from each other. The San Andreas is one of the few transform faults exposed on land. A few. The San Andreas fault zone. slices through two thirds of the length of California. Iceland is splitting along the MidAtlantic Ridge ‐ a divergent boundary between the North American and Eurasian Plates. These are also known as transform boundaries or more commonly as faults. UNIT 4 2. the Pacific Plate has been grinding horizontally past the North American Plate for 10 million years.300 km long and in places tens of kilometres wide. They commonly offset active spreading ridges. a divergent boundary to the south. As seen below. Iceland offers scientists a natural laboratory for studying ‐ on land ‐ the processes that occur along submerged parts of a divergent boundary. it also creates a rift along the boundary. Most transform faults are found on the ocean floor. As North America moves westward and Eurasia eastward. or separation will arise and over time that mass of land will break apart into distinct land masses and the surrounding water will fill the space between them. another divergent boundary to the north. Land on the west side of the fault zone (on the Pacific Plate) is moving in a northwesterly direction relative to the land on the east side of the fault zone (on the North American Plate). as the Atlantic waters eventually rush in to fill the widening and deepening space between. which is about 1. Iceland will inevitably break apart into two separate land masses at some point in the future. at an average rate of about 5 cm/yr. . Oceans are born and grow wider where plates diverge or pull apart.
Fault lines are usually associated with earthquake activity. as abrupt earth movements can occur along them. earth or debris down a slope. buildings and other structures may sink into the ground. As a result. The effects of earthquakes on landscapes: Different types of fault can occur as a result of ground moving during earthquakes. and the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean. generated by earthquake tremors. and then displaced sideways. The biggest rift valley on earth is the so‐called Great Rift Valley in Africa. Liquefaction occurs when the shaking of silts. but its impact on buildings and other structures such as bridges and roads most certainly is. When this occurs. They tend to be large landform features. A fault zone is a region of the earth where the crust is relatively weak and where a fault is likely to occur. When rift valleys continue to grow between continents new oceans can form. A fault line is a point of intersection within that zones. Displacement of gas and electricity supply systems can lead to a secondary hazard: fire Landslides are movements of masses of rock. spreading every year along the rift that is known as the Mid‐Atlantic Ridge. Rift valleys form when one arm of the 3‐plate boundary stops moving or spreading. Sometimes rock can be broken by movements within the earth’s crust. much like a canyon. UNIT 4 Main hazards The hazards associated with earthquakes may be summarized as follows: o o o o Ground displacement is not life‐threatening in itself. Rift valleys. They are so called because an error or ‘fault’ appears to have occurred within rock strata or surface features that are no longer in alignment on opposite sides of the fault line. It is thought that rift valleys that developed in the ancient continent of Pangea resulted in its break‐up into the separate continents of Africa.000km long. up or down. including earthquake tremors. Slope failure can be triggered by a number of events. which is 6. Faults. . it is referred to as a fault. This ocean continues to grow. sands and gravels cause them to lose their load‐bearing capacity. Tsunamis are ocean waves with extremely long wavelengths. Europe and North and South America. These can form at the point where 3 tectonic plate boundaries meet. only bigger. The result is a valley between the plates.
Despite their low height. which depends on silica content. often less that 300m high. Also referred to as scoria volcanoes. dormant or extinct: o o o An extinct volcano is one that is not erupting now and is not likely to erupt in the future A dormant volcano is one that is not erupting now but has erupted since written records were begun (e. Volcanoes may be classified as: o o The central‐vent type. intraplate. from which molten magma. with the sides of some cinder cones inclining at as much as 35°. . and is likely to do so in the future. they can be very steep. where the eruption takes place from a single pipe The fissure type. i. Specific factors include eruption duration and length of eruption climax as well as the type of lava. disrupted from pre‐existing volcanic rock. The most common type of volcano is the cinder volcano.e. and gases are ejected or extruded. Cinder cones tend to have very straight sides. Volcanoes may be active. where magma is extruded along a linear fracture They may also form low‐lying craters know as calderas. they are the smallest type of volcano. in the last 200 years). Types of volcano: Cinder volcanoes. The potential impact of a volcano is determined by a number of factor. but some volcanoes occur above hotspots within plate interiors. The violence of an eruption is determined by the amount of dissolved gases and how easily the gases can escape. An active volcano is one that is erupting r is not likely to erupt in the near future The distribution of volcanoes is restricted to zones where there is a supply of magma from the earth’s interior. Cinder cones have a very consistent composition.g. UNIT 4 Volcanoes A volcano is a landform that develops around a weakness in the earth’s crust. being almost entirely made up of pyroclastic lapilli – volcanic material that is between 2 mm and 64 mm in size. Most volcanoes coincide with the margins of techntonic plates (interplate). created as a result of subsistence or collapse following an eruption.
and these tend to exist in alternate layers throughout the volcanic profile. a build‐up of pressure within the volcano means that these eruptions are relatively intense. releasing the pressure build‐up with a large ‘booming’ sound. The typical shape of a composite volcano is a tall cone with sides that slope gently at the base but that become increasingly steep towards the summit. UNIT 4 Composite volcanoes. shield cones increase in steepness mid‐slope before flattening out again towards the summit. Tend to be very broad and relatively flat. Being more explosive than any of the other types of eruption covered so far. Tend to occur in areas where relatively viscous basaltic magma is found. Episodic eruptions are the result. The summit itself is small in comparison other volcanic cones. . Results in a volcano with concave sides. with much of the pyroclastic material being blasted from the sides of the volcano. They are composed of different types of volcanic material. They are also considered the most deadly. lasting only a few hours. A high degree of fragmentation of the volcanic material during the eruption leads to the formation of vast amounts of volcanic ash. Hawaiian eruptions. Vulcanian eruptions. Found in areas where lava is highly viscous. Calmest of all volcanic eruptions. Eruptions tend to feature vast amounts of lapilli. cinder cones tend to build up around the volcanic vent. Pyroclastic blocks ad bombs are ejected at high velocity. Vulcanian eruptions can result in the formation of eruption columns that reach between 5‐10km into the air. Considered to be the most picturesque of all volcano types. Having gentle slopes at their lower levels. leading to a build‐up of pressure within the volcano. Generally non‐explosive. This typically results in the formation of shield volcanoes. Tend to be short‐lived. The viscosity of the magma prevents the escape of volcanic gases. they are so named because of their prevalence on the islands of Hawaii. Gives it a convex shape. Types of eruption: The type of eruption is largely dependent on the composition of magma that found within a given area. Hawaiian eruptions tend to involve steady foundations of lava which run quickly away from the summit of the volcano through lava channels. and as a consequence. Strombolian eruptions. Shield volcanoes.
This is a raised area of land that has been formed by repeated lava flows in a given place over a period of time. Fissures can be connected back to the magma chamber below a volcano or to a secondary source of magma. These are cracks or openings within rock through which magma escapes onto the surface of the earth. UNIT 4 Plinian eruptions. and after many years of weathering of the less resistant rock that surrounds them. Extrusive igneous activity leads to the creation of a variety of landorm features above the surface of the earth. Parts of a batolith can become exposed at the surface by processes such as tectonic uplift or weathering. magma is referred to as lava. such as the vent of the volcano itself. in the first instance by the lava and pyroclastic materials which are injected from the volcano. Intrusive volcanic landforms: Intrusive processes can also result in the creation of volcanic landforms. intrusive features can become exposed at or above the surface of the earth. Over time. Batholith. new layers are added to the cone. They tend to be irregular in shape and are often composed of granite. The extrusion of lava from the vent leads to the creation of a volcanic cone. Extrusive volcanic landforms: Once extruded onto the surface of the earth. The high viscosity of these types of magma prevents the escape of volcanic gases. Layered lava flows can form tablelands or flat‐topped hills that can extend for hundreds or even thousands of km2. which is known as the magma chamber. They usually form because of weaknesses that exist within rock. Lava plateaux. During Plinian eruptions materials can be ejected from the volcano at speeds of hundreds of m/s. Fissures. These eruptions occur where magma is dacitic or rhyolitic in its composition. Volcanic cones. but much of the rest may remain buried because of their enourmous size. which cools and hardens to form igneous rocks. creating unique volcanic landforms. Largest of the igneous rocks thata form as a result of intrusive activity. . Intrusion occurs when magma cools and hardens into rocks below the earth’s surface. The central vent of the volcano is connected to a store of magma below the surface. and then by the volcanic ash which later settles from the air. leading to highly explosive eruptions. With each new eruption.
A sill is the name given to a long. The heavy ash can collapse roofs. dikes cut across layers of existing rock. UNIT 4 Stock. Explosive blasts are outburts of fragments of rock and lava driven by gases expanding at great depths. A dome of igneous rock that is formed between 2 layers of per‐existing sedimentary rock. these are partially controlled into gravity. lahar. are not poisonous. o o o o o o Pyroclasts: Pyroclastic Material Volcanic Ash Lapilli Blocks and bombs Description Very small particles. As meltwater flows down the volcano’s flank. and since the gas reduces he friction between the ash particles. Mudflows commonly occur on volcanoes with large deposits of ice and snow on their summits. it may be a conduit for magma to reach the surface of the earth. pyroclastic flows are impossible to outrun and completely destroy anything in their path. which cut across layers of rock. When this magma cools to form igneous rock. Glacial outbursts are masses of water or ice suddenly released from a glacier by the heat from lava inside a volcano. Glacial outbursts are primarily water. Vein. dikes are found near volcanic cones. the vein‐like patterns within the rocks can remain. Laccolith. usually of a fine grain Medium‐sized particles. Although some lava flows can travel at 80‐100 km/h others move at human walking pace or more slowly. Ash flows are dense masses of gas and fragments of lava that flow down the sides of volcanoes at great speeds. Dike. Sometimes dikes form in fractures or weak points within rock strata. They must be less than 100km2 in areal extent. Unlike dikes. thin intrusion of igneous rock through pre‐existing strata. By their nature. These blasts may throw great blocks of rock many km’s. Sill. Most commonly. but smaller quantities of more toxic gases are released. Laccoliths are created when slow‐flowing. Also called pyroclastic flows. Sometimes. stocks form as offshoots of larger batholits. Moving extremely quickly. which itself is influenced by the temperature. the superheated blast cloud expelled by the volcano is more destructive. Usually a vertical or near vertical sheet of rock that is created when magma is thrust into a body of pre‐ existing rock. Eventually. forming a distinct layer of their own. The term used to describe instrusive igneous rocks that are smaller in sie and extent than a batholith. is widely used. water vapor and CO2. . Prior to the hardening of rock within the dike. The Asian term for a volcanic mudflow. However. They form when gas‐saturated lava comes near the surface of the earth: as the pressure falls. during. it mixes with loose soil and ash to form a muddy liquid the consistency of wet cement. Explosive volcanoes throw clouds of ash into the atmosphere which then fall to earth downwind. the gas forms bubbles which break the lava into tiny fragments of liquid rock (called ash). a dike can appear to be a ‘wall’ of volcanic rock. they can flow very far and very fast. sometimes referred to as ‘cinders’ Large aggregates of volcanic material Size Less than 2mm 2mm – 64mm Greater than 64mm Pyroclastic flows is a mixture of superheated rock and hot gases that rapidly flows down the side of a volcano. Often. sills intrude between other layers. fractures and openings that exist in the rock that lies below the surface of the earth. the magma builds up into a dome or mushroom shape. and for many years after volcanic eruptions. Ash falls are less devastating than ash flows but can be very disruptive. magma will find its way into the small cracks. The speed of a flow depends on the viscosity of the lava. Main hazards: o Lava flows are sheets and tongues of liquid rock expelled from the crown or flank of an erupting volcano. The orientation of the sill is determined by the nature of the rocks themselves and the ease with which the magma can force its way through during the period of formation. break branches and coat the leaves of plants. the silica content and the incline of the volcano’s slope. but they can turn into mudflows if they flow over ground with abundant soil or gravel. Poisonous gases are released in and around volcanoes before. It the ratio of gas to ash is red‐hot flows. The most abundant gases. highly viscous magma is forced between the horizontal layers of exisiting strata. When exposed above the earth’s surface.
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