plate tectonics

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plate tectonics

n.
1. (used with a sing. verb) A theory that explains the global distribution of geological phenomena such as seismicity, volcanism, continental drift, and mountain building in terms of the formation, destruction, movement, and interaction of the earth's lithospheric plates.
2. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The dynamics of plate movement.

plate′-tec·ton′ic adj.

plate tectonics

n
(Geological Science) (functioning as singular) geology the study of the structure of the earth's crust and mantle with reference to the theory that the earth's lithosphere is divided into large rigid blocks (plates) that are floating on semifluid rock and are thus able to interact with each other at their boundaries, and to the associated theories of continental drift and seafloor spreading

plate′ tecton′ics


n.
a geologic theory that describes the earth's crust as divided into a number of rigid plates, movement of which accounts for such phenomena as continental drift and the distribution of earthquakes.
[1965–70]
plate′-tecton′ic, adj.

plate tectonics

In geology, a theory that the Earth's lithosphere (crust and upper mantle) is divided into a number of large, plate-like sections that move as distinct masses. See Notes at fault, Gondwanaland, See more at tectonic boundary.
Did You Know? Have you ever noticed that the Earth's continents seem to fit together like pieces of a puzzle? This observation is what led the German meteorologist Alfred Wegener to propose the theory of continental drift in 1915. Since rocks and fossils were found to match up in parts of different continents, it seemed that they must have once been joined, but no one could explain how such large landmasses could move so far apart. This problem was not solved until the 1960s, when the theory of plate tectonics was proposed. According to this theory, the continents move apart by riding piggyback on plates—huge slabs of the Earth's lithosphere—that are much larger than the continents themselves. The plates move like parts of a conveyor belt powered by huge convection currents of molten rock that many geologists believe is heated by the decay of radioactive elements deep within the Earth. Although they only move a few inches per year, over hundreds of millions of years the continents are carried thousands of miles. Along their boundaries, the plates crumple, scrape, or pull apart from one another, giving rise to volcanoes and earthquakes and creating and destroying rock on the ever-changing surface of the planet.

plate tectonics


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The study of how lithospheric plates move around.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.plate tectonics - the branch of geology studying the folding and faulting of the earth's crust
geomorphology, morphology - the branch of geology that studies the characteristics and configuration and evolution of rocks and land forms
Pangaea, Pangea - (plate tectonics) a hypothetical continent including all the landmass of the earth prior to the Triassic period when it split into Laurasia and Gondwanaland
References in periodicals archive ?
Objective: There is widespread recognition of the central role of magma at divergent plate boundaries.
Quakes at plate boundaries usually involve larger faults and thus release more energy, generating shaking over larger areas.
Tectonic plates are massive pieces of rock which lie under both continents and oceans, and volcanoes are usually found near tectonic plate boundaries.
One earthquake triggering another in a short period of time happens frequently on all the major tectonic plate boundaries, said Pascale, but not usually two really big ones.
The Up component may become an excellent example of trend non-linearity for stations located close to plate boundaries due to constantly growing values of time series (when ignoring the detected oscillations in A9) from 1993 up to 2000 and then their slow decrease up to 2011.
The design of critical facilities has to be properly address, seismicity of Malaysia is closed to two the most seismically active plate boundaries, in the inter-plate boundary between the Indo-Australian and Eurasian Plates on the west and the inter-plate boundary between the Eurasian and Philippines.
Specifically, they reveal a link between seamounts and earthquakes, as seamounts are formerly active volcanoes and therefore generally are located near tectonically active plate boundaries, midocean ridges, and subducting zones.
This is a long horseshoe-shaped seismically active belt of earthquake epicenters, volcanoes, and tectonic plate boundaries located on the fringes of the Pacific basin.
They did field work together and shared their international research on earthquakes that occur along tectonic plate boundaries, which is the case with Alaska, situated at the meeting point of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates.
Volcanism away from plate boundaries has also been explained as mantle plumes.
Going far beyond simply revising rupture occurrence probabilities in the existing model, AIR's updated model reflects a new understanding of the complex network of plate boundaries and crustal faults that underlie the Japanese archipelago," said Guin.
Several relevant tectonic elements, plate boundaries and active volcanoes, provide a context for the seismicity presented on the main map.