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Plate Tectonics

Unit 4 Plate Tectonics

Tectonic/Crustal plates Large, moving pieces of Earth’s lithosphere that rest on the asthenosphere
Tectonic/Crustal plates Commonly carries both oceanic and continental crust
Continental Drift A hypothesis made by Alfred Wegener in 1912
Continental Drift Continents were once joined together but moved apart over time
Pangaea Supercontinent that included all of the landmasses on Earth; began breaking apart about 200 million years ago
Plate Tectonics Theory that pieces of Earth’s lithosphere are in constant motion, driven by convection currents in the mantle
Divergent Boundary Boundary along which two tectonic plates move away from each other
Divergent Boundary The sea floor spreads apart and new crust is formed
Convergent Boundary Boundary along which two tectonic plates move toward each other
Convergent Boundary Characterized by subduction or continental collision
Convergent Boundary Crust is usually destroyed
Transform Boundary Boundary along which two tectonic plates scrape past each other
Transform Boundary Characterized by earthquakes; crust isn’t created or destroyed
Hot spot An area where a column of hot material rises from deep within the mantle. -Lithosphere above is heated, causing volcanic activity at the surface
Subduction The process by which denser crust sinks beneath less dense crust
Rift valley A deep valley formed as tectonic plates move away from each other at a divergent boundary
Mid-ocean ridge An underwater mountain range where new ocean crust is formed by volcanic activity along a divergent boundary
Ocean basin A great depression occupied by the ocean on the surface of the lithosphere
Created by: mpmsscience