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Plate Tectonics

Basic vocabulary for introducing plate tectonics

Geophysicist One who studies the forces that make and shape planet Earth
Plate Tectonics Theory The theory that the pieces of Earth's lithosphere are in constant motion due to the convection currents in the mantle
Pangaea The name of a single landmass that broke and gave rise to today's continents
Convection Current The movement of the mantle caused by differences in temperature and gravity.
Tectonic Plates Sections of the lithosphere(crust)that are made up of pieces of continental and oceanic crust.
Subduction The process by which a more dense crust sinks beneath a lesser dense crust at convergent plate boundaries
Convergent boundary A plate boundary where two plates move toward each other.
Mantle The layer of hot, solid material between Earth's crust and core.
Lithosphere A rigid layer made up of the uppermost part of the mantle and the lower part of the crust.
Divergent boundary A plate boundary where two plates move away from each other.
Trench A deep valley along the ocean floor through which oceanic crust slowly sinks towards the mantle
Asthenosphere The soft layer of the mantle on which the lithosphere floats.
Continental Drift Theory The hypothesis that the continents were once a large landmass that has broken up and drifted apart.
Sea Floor Spreading Theory The process by which molten material from the mantle is adding new oceanic crust to the ocean floor
Created by: sschenkel