Related topics: quake · earth · earthquake · geologists · earth sciences

Can a UNICORN outrun earthquakes?

Each year, anywhere from a few hundred to tens of thousands of deaths are attributed to the catastrophic effects of major earthquakes. Apart from ground shaking, earthquake hazards include landslides, dam ruptures, flooding, ...

What makes the Earth's surface move?

Do tectonic plates move because of motion in the Earth's mantle, or is the mantle driven by the movement of the plates? Or could it be that this question is ill-posed? This is the point of view adopted by scientists at the ...

What drives plate tectonics?

Plate tectonics was founded in the late 1960s, and it concerns the distribution and movements of plates, the uppermost layer of the Earth. Plate movements not only control the distributions of earthquakes, volcanoes, and ...

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Plate tectonics

Plate tectonics (from the Greek τέκτων; tektōn, meaning "builder" or "mason") describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere. The theory encompasses the older concepts of continental drift, developed during the first decades of the 20th century by Alfred Wegener, and seafloor spreading, understood during the 1960s.

The lithosphere is broken up into what are called tectonic plates. In the case of Earth, there are currently eight major and many minor plates (see list below). The lithospheric plates ride on the asthenosphere. These plates move in relation to one another at one of three types of plate boundaries: convergent, or collisional boundaries; divergent boundaries, also called spreading centers; and transform boundaries. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur along plate boundaries. The lateral movement of the plates is typically at speeds of 50–100 mm annually.

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