There are 7-8 major plates plate boundaries summary many minor plates. Varying between 0 to 100mm per year, the movement of a plate is driven by convection in the underlying hot and viscous mantle. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur along plate boundaries in zones that may be anything from a few kilometres to a few hundred kilometres wide. To watch a simulated fly-by along New Zealand's plate boundary check out plate boundaries summary video.
plate boundaries zonesThe movement of the plates is driven by convection cells in the mantle so the plates are continuously jostling against each other. Geologically, the most important things happen at plate boundaries, including most of the earthquakes, volcanos, igneous rocks, major metamorphism, and mountain building processes. Interplate regions tend to be rather boring. There are three kinds of plate boundaries. Divergent boundaries are where plates separate from each other, and magma oozes up from the mantle into the crack a fissure volcano making the ocean basin wider.
Plate Tectonics A Land in Motion Although we think of the land on Earth as being fixed and stable, it turns out that it is constantly moving. This movement is way too slow for us to notice, however, because it only moves between one to 6 inches per year. It takes millions of years for the land to move a significant amount.
earthquakes and plate tectonics
Plate Tectonics The Earth's plates jostle about in fits and starts that are punctuated with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Six of the majors are named for the continents embedded within them, such as the North American, African, and Antarctic plates. Though smaller in size, the minors are no less important when it comes to shaping the Earth. The tiny Juan de Fuca plate is largely responsible for the volcanoes that dot the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
plate tectonics facts
Scientists now have a fairly good understanding of how the plates move and how such movements relate to earthquake activity. Most movement occurs along narrow zones between plates where the results of plate-tectonic forces are most evident.
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