Plate Tectonics

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Plate tectonics is a concept that describes a large motion of Earth’s lithosphere. This theory builds on the idea of the continental drift that was established in the recent decades of the 20th century (Amos 1). Plate tectonics originates from oceans. Through oceanographic expeditions by scientists, ocean ridges, transformation faults and subduction zones were discovered.

Ocean ridges can be described as an underwater mountain system, which is created by plate tectonics.  It comprises of different mountains connected in chains, characteristically having a basin that is a rift running along it.  This form of oceanic ridge leads to the formation of seafloor spreading (Amos 2). An example of the oceanic ridge can be found within the northern region of Arabian Sea, Carlsberg Ridge that divided Seychelles from India. Another example of oceanic ridge is the Central Indian Ridge that exists between Madagascar and India.

Subduction can be described as a geological process, which occurs at convergent borders of tectonic plates in which a single plate moves under others and sinks because of gravity that is the mantle. Areas in which this process takes place occurs are described as subduction zones (Amos 2). Steady subduction zones comprise the lithosphere of a single plate sliding underneath the continental lithosphere of other plates because of the greater density of the continental lithosphere.  An example of subduction zone includes the enormous Himalaya mountain chain, which was formed in this manner, at the time India smashed into Asia. Subduction zones take place around the boundary of the Pacific Ocean and in offshore of Washington, and Alaska.

In geology and oceanography, transform fault implies a form of fault whereby two tectonic plates move past each other. A transform fault can take place in a quota of a fracture zone, which exists between various offset spreading regions (Amos 3).  Overall, transform faults remain to be the only sections of fracture zones, which are seismically active.  An example of transform fault includes San Andreas Fault Zone that is found in western North America.

The forces that take place at the point of seafloor spreading and that is believed to be the most influential force in this process is the continental drift (Amos 3). The Earth’s surface is comprised of connecting tectonic plates.

In summary, tectonic plates move in relation to one another. When the two plates move ways from each other, then the seafloor moves along the edge of the two plates. The process of sea-floor spreading lead to the formation of the new crust.

Work Cited

Amos, Jonathan, “Plate tectonics: When we discovered how the Earth really works" Science & Environment. Retrieved on 13 May 2017,

October 05, 2023

Environment Science


Nature Geography Geology

Subject area:

Earth Ocean Plate Tectonics

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