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Plate Tectonics

Unit 3 Lessons 1-4

Table of Contents

Lesson 1


Formation of Earth
Earths Layers and Seismic waves

Lesson 2

Continental Drift/Alfred Wegner

Theory of Plate Tectonics


Convection in the Mantle

Sea Floor Spreading

Lesson 3
a) Boundaries and Landforms
b) Hot Spots (including geothermal)


Lesson 4
a) Earthquakes

Sea Floor Spreading

Earths Formation

(pg. 164)

O The big bang creates Nebulas filled

with gases and minerals

O Gravity pulls together more dense
materials and rotation begins
O Gravity continues to cause more
dense materials to move towards the
center of objects including Earth
O The immense pressure maintains the
heat in the core as well as
radioactive decay

Earths Layers

Earths Layers and

Seismic Waves
Scientists studied seismic waves
from earthquakes to identify the
material within Earth. The P and
S waves change speed and
direction when moving through
diferent materials. This indicates
diferent materials and states of
matter within the Earths interior.
How are P and S waves diferent?
How are they the same?

Continental Drift Theory

O Alfred Wegner published this theory in 1912
O Evidence he used to prove the continents once

formed one large land mass called PANGEA included

O The Shape of the continents
O Matching plant and animal fossils as well as matching

O Climate evidence (Coal and Glacial)
O Scientists at the time did not accept his theory

because he could not tell them how the continents


The Theory of Plate Tectonics

O Mapping of the sea floor in the 1960s led to the

discovery of plates within the lithosphere.

O Evidence that proves Continental Drift Theory
was correct includes (proves movement)
O Convection currents in the mantle
O Landforms called mid-ocean ridges that produce

more rock and push old rock away from the ridge.
This process is called sea-floor spreading. They
also indicate that Earth's magnetic field changes
every once in a while.
O Subduction zones where old rock is pulled down
(subducted) into the mantle and recycled (melted)

Convection in the

Mid-Ocean Ridges
and Sea Floor Spreading

Subduction zones

are areas where

subduction of plates of rock occur. These areas create deep ocean

trenches as they are pulled and pushed under another plate.

Plate Boundaries and



The plates slide past one

another and earthquakes
occur. There are no
landforms created. It does
cause distortion of rock
(twisting and bending). The
San Andreas Fault in
California is an example of
this type of boundary.

Divergent and

Divergent boundaries are where

plates are moving away from one
another creating landforms such as
mid-ocean ridges or a rift valleys. The
Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the middle of
the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Rift
Valley in Africa are examples of
divergent boundaries.

Convergent Boundaries are where two plates

come together. The landforms created depend on
the which plates are colliding, continental; or
oceanic. These include folded mountains,
volcanoes, trenches, and island arcs. The
Himalayas, Cascades, Marianas trench and
Aleutian Islands are examples.

Hot Spots

are an area in the middle of a plate that magma

breaks through causing lava to flow, creating volcanic Islands or water in the crust to react to
the hot magma just below the surface, creating geysers and other geothermal features.

Volcanic Islands

The focus is where the movement
occurs in the fault (crack in the
rock) and the epicenter is the
area of Earths surface that is
directly above the focus.

Earthquakes happen at
any fault or break in the

Explain how the

scientists know what
Earths layers are and
what they are
Seismic waves from earthquakes
move at diferent speeds and bend
as they pass though diferent

Draw a diagram showing how

scientists determined the Earths
layers by seismic waves.

Describe the convection

in the mantle.
Convection in the mantle is the
circular motion caused by the heated
and less dense rock in the mantle
moving upward as the cool and more
dense rock sinks.

Identify what processes other

than convection in the mantle
help move tectonic plates?
1.Seafloor spreading at mid-ocean
ridges push older rock away and
create new rock.
2.Subduction occurs as one plate
moves beneath another and is
pulled back into the mantle.

Summarize evidence that the

Earths core is more rigid that the
outer core and mantle.
The core is solid because the S-waves do
not penetrate the core. They create a
shadow zone on the opposite side of the
Earth from which the earthquake occurred.
The P-waves bend when traveling through
liquid and they create a diferent shadow
zone. This indicates the center is solid and
the surrounding material is liquid.

Analyze how constructive and destructive

processes afect the lithosphere.
The lithosphere contains the tectonic
plates that move. The constructive force
of a divergent boundary creates new crust
at mid-ocean ridges and mountain ranges
are created when two plates collide.
Subduction zones destroy crust as it is
pulled back into the mantle.

Identify the type of boundary that

created this. Describe how it was
An plate
movement at a
caused this by
one plate
moving past
the other plate.

Identify the type of boundary

that created this. Describe how
it was created.

Identify the type of boundary that

created this mountain range. Describe
how it was created.

Identify the type of boundary that

created this landform. Describe how
it was created.

Identify the type of boundary that

created this landform. Describe how
it was created.

If you used a hard boiled egg

as an example for Earths
layers Identify what the shell,
white part and yellow parts
would represent.

Compare/contrast plate
tectonics and continental drift.
O Continental drift
O Fossil and climate evidence
O Shape of continents

O Plate Tectonics
O Plate movement, mid-ocean ridges,

subduction and convection currents

O Both show evidence for PANGEA

When mid ocean ridges form

the new rock
A. stays near the ridge and builds land

upward upon the seafloor

B. moves upward and forms a mountain

C. moves downward back into the mantle
D. moves away from the ridge and to the

edges of the seafloor

Identify the convergent plate boundary

that created the Aleutian Islands.
A. Transform
B. Continental-Continental
C. Oceanic-Continental
D. Oceanic-Oceanic

Describe what happens at

Transform boundaries and
Identify one transform boundary.
Two tectonic plates slide past one
another at a transform boundaries
causing earthquakes. An example of a
transform boundary would be the San
Andreas Fault located between the
Pacific and North American plates in

Describe what deformation

does to rock.
Deformation bends, folds, and breaks
rock causing the layers to be