Plate Tectonics

Alfred Lothar Wegener was a German polar researcher, geophysicist and meteorologist. During his lifetime he was primarily known for his achievements in meteorology and as a Pioneer of polar research, but most remembered today he is for advancing the theory of continental drift in 1912, which hypothesized that the continents were slowly drifting around the Earth.

Alfred Wegener

convergent - is an actively deforming region where two (or more)tectonic plates or fragments of the lithosphere move toward one another and collide.

divergent - a linear feature that exists between two tectonic plates that are moving away from each other.

transform boundaries - where two of the floats - two tectonic plates - side alongside each other. When this happens, the scraping of the two plates causes earthquakes.

Juan de Fuca Plate is just off the coast of Washington.

The Cascade Volcanoes were formed by the subduction of the Juan de Fuca, Explorer and the Gorda Plate (remnants of the much larger Farallon Plate) under the North American Plate along the Cascadia subduction zone.

juan de fuca plate

Plate tectonic theory requires some kind of horizontal forces that can cause the plate movement, so the only possible mechanism seems to be convection. This is essentially motion induced by buoyancy, with lighter material sinking. In the mantle the convection is caused by a thermal effect in which density changes are produced by temperature variations.

convection currents and the role they play in plate tectonics

The Channeled Scablands are a barren, relatively soil-free landscape in eastern Washington, scoured clean by a flood unleashed when a large glacial lake drained. They were created by the cataclysmic Missoula Floods that swept periodically across eastern Washington and down the Columbia River Plateau during the Pleistocene epoch. Geologist J Harlen Bretz coined the term in a series of papers in the 1920s.

channeled scablands

Rift Zone - It is a feature of some volcanoes, especially sheild volcanoes, qui in a linear series of fissures in the volcanic edifice allows lava to be erupted from the volcano's flank from  instead of ict summit.

Subduction Zone - It is the biggest smash-up on Earth, marking the collision between two of the planet's tectonic plates, the pieces of crust that slowly move across the surface over millions of years. When two tectonic plates meet, one may slide underneath the other, curving down into the mantle.

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