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Plate Tectonics Project.

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Introduction

Plate Tectonics Project PLATE TECTONICS CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Earthquakes and Volcanoes 2.1 Earthquakes 2.2 Ocean Trenches 2.3 Volcanoes 3. Plate Movements 3.1 Europe 3.2 Far east, Australia and the Pacific 3.3 North America 3.4 Nazca and South America 4. References 1. INTRODUCTION In this report I am going to study the Earth's plates (see fig. 1) and how they move and behave in different areas around the world. The Earth's crust is made up by a number of rigid plates, these plates move in relation to one another. They may move apart, together, or along side each other. The plates FLOAT on a hot liquid called the mantle beneath the crust of the Earth, the movement of the plates is caused by rising hot currents within the mantel, these are known as convection currents. The mantle is made up of hot liquid rocks. Mountain ranges, earthquakes, volcanoes and deep ocean trenches are all caused by the processes that take place along the boundaries between the plates of the earth. This report is divided into a number of sections. First of all I will write about earthquakes and volcanoes and how they occur. This will cover convection currents and deep sea ocean trenches. It will also look into the case of Mount St. Helens. Then in a number of different sections I will write about the different plates in different parts of the world and how different forces change the way the land lies and why every part of the earth's landscape is unique. ...read more.

Middle

The blue lines represent the predicted movement of the plates, they are predicted by a system called NUVEL-1. The uncertainties of the velocities range from better than 2 mm/yr to 20 mm/yr are shown as pink error ellipses centred at the tip of each vector. The size of these error ellipses is decided by the number of observations and length of time that the observations were taken. Note that the lines in the Greek and Turkish areas are not very well aligned with those predicted by the NUVEL-1 model. This is because of a dramatic deformational action occurring across this area. We can get a better understanding of the deformational process by using a simple experiment. Imagine a line connected to the tip of a blue line with the tip of the white line. This imagined line shows the motion of the site which would be relative to fixed Europe (this is not true for the three sites in the lower right hand corner of the map since the blue vectors for these sites represent motions of other plates). In another explanation, if we were to "nail-down" Europe, these imagined lines would show the deformational motion. Aegean Tectonics Referring to fig 5 the lines shown on this map of Greece are now relative to fixed northern Europe. This shows how the crust in the Aegean is literally stretching from north to south. ...read more.

Conclusion

3.4 NAZCA AND SOUTH AMERICA As before the white lines on the map represent the movements of the plates measured by the SLR and the blue lines on the map representing the NUVAL-1 prediction. The text refers to fig 8. There are 3 SLR stations shown on this map. They each are in interesting regions of the world. Beginning with the site at Easter Island, which sits on one of the fastest moving plates, the Nazca plate, the SLR estimate of motion is generally slower than that expected from the NUVEL-1 model. This is because there is a very gradual slowing of the some of the plate velocities over time. The NUVEL-1 model of plate motion is based on geological evidence, particularly, the "speed" of the plates is derived from studying the patterns of a specific magnetic anomaly on the ocean floors. There has been some evidence of a small amount of slowing of the rate of the Pacific/Nazca boundary (along which are the fastest relative plate rates in the world) over the last 3 million years. Tectonic Motion in South America The two sites in South America, Arequipa and Santiago, are located in the deforming collision boundary zone between the Nazca plate and the South America plate. The Nazca plate subducts beneath South America and, like the case at Simosato, a bit of the subduction motion is being transferred into a bit of the over-riding plate. This explains why the motions for these two sites appear twisted to the east, when shown with the NUVEL-1 model. 4. ...read more.

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