Plate tectonics (from the Greek word for "one who constructs and destroys", τεκτων, tekton) is a theory of geology developed to explain the phenomenon of continental drift and is currently the theory accepted by the vast majority of scientists working in this area. In the theory of plate tectonics the outermost part of the Earth's interior is made up of two layers: the outer lithosphere and the inner asthenosphere.

. and oceanic trench formation occur along plate boundaries (most notably around the Pacific Ring of Fire). mountain-building.PLATE TECTONIC Earthquakes volcanic activity.


Eurasian. Cocos. Nazca. two plates move away from each other). divergent (or constructive. South American.PLATE TECTONIC The lithosphere essentially "floats" on the asthenosphere and is broken-up into ten major plates: African. Pacific. These plates (and the more numerous minor plates) move in relation to one another at one of three types of plate boundaries: convergent (or destructive. . North American. and the Indian plates. two plates push against one another). Australian. and transform (two plates slide past one another). Antarctic.

The relative fluidity of the asthenosphere allows the tectonic plates to undergo motion in different directions. . which "float" on the fluid-like asthenosphere. and crust. whilst the asthenosphere is hotter and mechanically weaker. This division should not be confused with the chemical subdivision of the Earth into (from innermost to outermost) core. The lithosphere is cooler and more rigid.PLATE TECTONIC The division of the Earth's interior into lithospheric and asthenospheric components is based on their mechanical differences. The key principle of plate tectonics is that the lithosphere exists as separate and distinct tectonic plates. mantle.

Plate Tectonics Directions of Motion and Plate Velocities Determined by Mantle Plume Hot Spot Tracks and Age-Dating of Rocks .

Plate Tectonics Directions of Motion and Plate Velocities Determined by GPS (Global Positioning System) Satellites Directions of Motion and Plate Velocities Determined by GPS (Global Positioning System) Satellites .


Plate Tectonics Earth’s Tectonic Plates North American North American Eurasian Arabian Juan de Fuca Caribbean Pacific Philippine Cocos Nazca Pacific South American African Indo Australian Antarctic Scotian Antarctic .

Plate Tectonics What drives Plate Tectonics??? .

away from the ridge • Far less important than slab-pull – Mantle drag and plate resistance • Can act to increase or decrease plate motion . dense slabs of subducted oceanic lithosphere pull the plate towards the subduction zone – Ridge-push • The higher elevation of spreading centers result in oceanic lithosphere wanting to move “downhill”.What drives plate motions • Forces that drive plate motion – Slab-pull • Cold.

Mantle convection provides the primary drive for plate tectonics .


What drives plate motions • Models of plate-mantle convection • Any model must be consistent with observed physical and chemical properties of the mantle • Horizontal movement of plates causes mantle upwelling • Models – Layering at 660 km – Explains why basalts erupted at mid-ocean ridges are different (more evolved. relatively shallow source) compared to those erupted at hot-spots (more primitive. deeper source). – We know that subducting slabs descend beneath 660 km .

removing heterogeneities .What drives plate motions • Whole-mantle convection – Would mix the entire mantle in the space of a few hundred million years.

What drives plate motions • Deep-layer model – “Lava lamp model” – Two layers swell and shrink in a complex fashion in response to heat from the Earth’s interior .

Plate Tectonics Internal Heat .

Plate Tectonics Divergent Boundary Results in the formation of Oceanic Crust .

Plate Tectonics Transform Boundary .

Plate Tectonics Convergent Boundary: Subduction Melting Produces More Felsic Magma Results in the formation & growth of Continental Crust and destruction of Oceanic Crust .

Plate Tectonics Convergent Boundary: Collision Results in the growth of Continental Crust .

Arc-Trench systems 23 .

Trench roll-back Arc-Trench systems 24 .

Types of arc-trench system Arc-Trench systems 25 .

Transform.BASIC PLATE TECTONICS – Revised • • • Earth’s lithosphere is broken into 12-24 rigid plates Plates move about 1-10 cm/yr on the plastic Asthenosphere “Geology happens” where the plates interact with one another along Divergent. Subduction and Collisional Boundaries .