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Section 4
Plate Motions and Plate Interactions

In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm, Section 4: Plate Motions and Plate Interactions.

Inquiring Further

  1. To learn more about the motions of lithospheric plates, visit the following web sites:

    Paleomap Project, Christopher R. Scotese
    Allows you to view plate motions from the past 200 million years, as well as predicted motions 25 million years into the future.

    Geology : Plate Tectonics, University of California Museum of Paleontology
    Information on plate tectonics, including animations of plate motions for the past 750 million years.

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To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

Cascades Eruptions During the Past 4000 Years, USGS
Figure showing the eruptions of Cascade volcanoes during the last 4,000 years.

Cascades Volcano Observatory, USGS
Information on volcanic hazards, activity, history, and monitoring of volcanoes.

Types of Plate Boundaries

Understanding Plate Motions, from This Dynamic Planet, USGS
Reviews the types of plate boundaries and the basics of plate motions.

Main Types of Plate Boundaries, from This Dynamic Earth, USGS
Artist's cross section illustrating the main types of plate boundaries.

How Plates Move, Volcano World
Brief overview of the three types of plate motions. Includes good schematic drawings of each type.

The Action is at the Edges!, USGS
Overview of the three types of plate motions. Includes good schematic drawings of each type.

Divergent Plate Boundaries

Understanding Plate Motion, USGS
Explains the driving force behind plate tectonics. Click to view an animation of sea-floor spreading.

Convergent Plate Boundaries

Convergent Plate Boundaries, USGS
Explains why plates are subducted at convergent plate boundaries and what happens to them once they are subducted.

Cascade Range Volcanoes and Volcanics, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory
An example of an oceanic-continental plate boundary is the Cascade Range in the Western United States. Volcanoes are formed along the US coast as the oceanic Juan de Fuce plate plunges below the continental North American plate. This web site provides an in-depth review of the geologic history of the Cascade volcanoes.

Kick 'Em Jenny, West Indies, USGS
The collision of two oceanic plates can create areas of intense volcanic activity. Learn more about volcanoes formed in this manner.

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