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Frank Press • Raymond Siever • John Grotzinger • Thomas H. Jordan

Understanding Earth

Fourth Edition

Chapter 2:

PlatePlate Tectonics:Tectonics:

TheThe UnifyingUnifying TheoryTheory

Lecture Slides prepared by Peter Copeland • Bill Dupré

Copyright © 2004 by W. H. Freeman & Company

PlatePlate TectonicsTectonics

TheThe unifyingunifying conceptconcept ofof thethe EarthEarth sciencessciences

" The outer portion of the Earth is made up of about 20 distinct

plates

(~ 100 km thick), which

move relative to each other

" This motion is what causes earthquakes and makes mountain ranges

PlatePlate

TectonicsTectonics

" Integrates evidence from many branches of science

" First suggested based on evidence from geology and paleontology

" Fully embraced after evidence from geophysics

ContinentalContinental DriftDrift

The concept that large-scale horizontal movements of the outer portions of the Earth are responsible for the major topographical features such as mountains and ocean basins.

Proposed by Alfred Wegner in 1912 based on his observation of drifting sheets of ice.

TheThe RejectionRejection andand AcceptanceAcceptance ofof ContinentalContinental DriftDrift

" Rejected by most geologists.

" New data after WWII led to the plate

tectonic revolution

in 1960 s.

" Now embraced by essentially everybody.

" Today s geology textbooks radically different than those 40 years ago.

Fig. 2.1

GeographicGeographic FitFit ofof thethe ContinentsContinents

OneOne ofof thethe firstfirst piecespieces ofof evidenceevidence usedused toto argueargue forfor continentalcontinental driftdrift

SuggestedSuggested thatthat allall continentscontinents werewere onceonce togethertogether inin aa singlesingle supercontinentsupercontinent calledcalled PangeaPangea

GeologyGeology andand PaleontologyPaleontology MatchesMatches onon OppositeOpposite SidesSides ofof thethe AtlanticAtlantic

Paleontology Matches Matches on on Opposite Opposite Sides Sides of of the the Atlantic Atlantic Fig.

Fig. 2.2

EvidenceEvidence CameCame fromfrom thethe SeafloorSeafloor

Evidence Came Came from from the the Seafloor Seafloor • age age of of ocean ocean

ageage ofof oceanocean crustcrust

magneticmagnetic datadata

TectonicsTectonics PredictsPredicts LocationLocation ofof EarthquakesEarthquakes andand VolcanoesVolcanoes

Tectonics Predicts Predicts Location Location of of Earthquakes Earthquakes and and Volcanoes Volcanoes Fig. 2.4

Fig. 2.4

AA MosaicMosaic ofof PlatesPlates

A A Mosaic Mosaic of of Plates Plates Fig. 2.5

ModernModern PlatePlate MotionsMotions

Modern Modern Plate Plate Motions Motions • geology geology • GPS GPS measurements measurements • magnetic

geologygeology

GPSGPS measurementsmeasurements

magneticmagnetic datadata

mm/year

Fig. 2.5

PlatePlate TectonicsTectonics

" LithosphereLithosphere: the outer rigid shell of the earth (~ 100 km). The plates are composed of this material

" AsthenosphereAsthenosphere: part of mantle beneath lithosphere

" The lithosphere rides on top of the asthenosphere

PlatePlate

ss

" Group of rocks all moving in the same direction

" Can have both oceanic and continental crust or just one kind.

ThreeThree TypesTypes ofof PlatePlate BoundariesBoundaries

Transform

Divergent

Convergent

Three Three Types Types of of Plate Plate Boundaries Boundaries T r a n s f

DivergentDivergent PlatePlate BoundaryBoundary

Usually start within continents— grows to become ocean basin

Divergent Divergent Plate Plate Boundary Boundary Usually start within continents— grows to become ocean basin Fig.

Fig. 2.6

DivergentDivergent PlatePlate BoundaryBoundary

Divergent Divergent Plate Plate Boundary Boundary Fig. 2.7

ContinentalContinental

RiftsRifts

" East Africa, Rio Grande rift

" Beginning of ocean formation although it may not get that far

" Rifting often begins at a triple junction (two spreading centers get together to form ocean basin, one left behind).

DivergentDivergent PlatePlate BoundaryBoundary

Divergent Divergent Plate Plate Boundary Boundary Fig. 2.6
DECIFRANDO A TERRA C AP . 6 • TECTÔNICA G LOBAL / TAS S INARI
DECIFRANDO A TERRA C AP . 6 • TECTÔNICA G LOBAL / TAS S INARI
Fonte: Decifrando a Terra /TEIXEIRA, TOLEDO, FAIRCHILD e TAIOLI - S ão Paulo: Oficina de
Textos, 2000.
110

DivergentDivergent PlatePlate BoundariesBoundaries

Divergent Divergent Plate Plate Boundaries Boundaries Fig. 2.8

Fig. 2.8

ConvergentConvergent BoundariesBoundaries

" Relative densities are important:

continental crust 2.8 g/cm 3 oceanic crust 3.2 g/cm 3 asthenosphere 3.3 g/cm 3

IsIs thethe EarthEarth Expanding?Expanding?

" New crust created at Mid-ocean ridge

old crust destroyed (recycled) at subduction zones

" The Earth is maintaining a constant diameter.

ConvergentConvergent

BoundariesBoundaries

Three types:

ocean oceanJapan ocean continent Andes continent continentHimalaya

Ocean–Ocean–

IslandIsland arcs:arcs:

OceanOcean

" Tectonic belts of high seismicity

" High heat flow arc of active volcanoes

" Bordered by a submarine trench

ConvergentConvergent plateplate boundaryboundary

Convergent Convergent plate plate boundary boundary Fig. 2.9

Fig. 2.9

Ocean–Ocean–

ContinentContinent

ContinentalContinental arcs:arcs:

" Active volcanoes

" Often accompanied by compression of upper crust

ConvergentConvergent PlatePlate BoundaryBoundary

Continent–Continent–

ContinentContinent

" In ocean continent boundaries, collision convergence is taken up by subduction

" In continent continent boundaries, convergence is accommodated by deformation of the crust without subduction (both plates are too buoyant to be subducted)

TransformTransform PlatePlate BoundaryBoundary

Transform Transform Plate Plate Boundary Boundary Fig. 2.10

Fig. 2.10

TheThe SS eaflooreafloor asas aa MagneticMagnetic TapeTape RecorderRecorder

" During and after WWII, it was noticed that the magnetic field near the ocean floor exhibited significant variation.

" Subsequent analysis shows that the changes in the rocks reflect changes in the Earth s magnetic field over time.

Fig.
Fig.

2.11

MagneticMagnetic ReversalsReversals inin aa SingleSingle VolcanoVolcano

Magnetic Magnetic Reversals Reversals in in a a Single Single Volcano Volcano Fig. 2.11

Fig. 2.11

TheThe MagneticMagnetic RecordRecord

The The Magnetic Magnetic Record Record Fig. 2.11

MagneticMagnetic ReversalsReversals atat Mid-oceanMid-ocean RidgesRidges

TheThe OceanOcean DrillingDrilling ProjectProject

JOIDES Resolution
JOIDES Resolution

Box 2.1

Fig. 2.12

ModernModern PlatePlate MotionsMotions

Modern Modern Plate Plate Motions Motions Fig. 2.13

MagneticMagnetic AgeAge ofof thethe OceansOceans

Magnetic Magnetic Age Age of of the the Oceans Oceans Fig. 2.14

Fig. 2.14

RatesRates ofof PlatePlate MotionMotion

Mostly obtained from magnetic anomalies on seafloor. FastFast spreadingspreading: 10 cm/year SlowSlow spreadingspreading: 3 cm/year

Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15
Fig. 2.15

DrivingDriving MechanismMechanism ofof PlatePlate TectonicsTectonics

" Thought to be convection of the mantle.

" Friction at base of the lithosphere transfers energy from the asthenosphere to the lithosphere.

" Convection may have overturned asthenosphere 4 6 times.

TwoTwo ModelsModels ofof MantleMantle ConvectionConvection

Two Two Models Models of of Mantle Mantle Convection Convection Fig. 2.17

Fig. 2.17

RidgeRidge PushPush andand TrenchTrench PullPull

Ridge Ridge Push Push and and Trench Trench Pull Pull Fig. 2.16

Fig. 2.16

Hot-spotHot-spot VolcanismVolcanism

AA ModelModel forfor thethe FormationFormation ofof FloodFlood BasaltsBasalts andand OtherOther LargeLarge
AA ModelModel forfor thethe FormationFormation ofof
FloodFlood BasaltsBasalts andand OtherOther
LargeLarge IgneousIgneous ProvincesProvinces
(LIP’s)(LIP’s)

Fig. 6.22

Fig. 6.22

Fig. 6.22

InstabilityInstability atat thethe core-mantlecore-mantle boundaryboundary causescauses aa mantlemantle plumeplume toto

InstabilityInstability atat thethe core-mantlecore-mantle boundaryboundary causescauses aa mantlemantle plumeplume toto rise,rise, ledled byby aa hot,hot, turbulentturbulent plumeplume head.head.

Fig. 6.22

WhenWhen thethe plumeplume reachesreaches thethe basebase ofof thethe lithosphere,lithosphere, itit flattensflattens

WhenWhen thethe plumeplume reachesreaches thethe basebase ofof thethe lithosphere,lithosphere, itit flattensflattens andand decompresses.decompresses. BasalticBasaltic magmamagma fromfrom decompressiondecompression meltingmelting eruptserupts asas floodflood basalts.basalts.

Fig. 6.22

As As the the moves moves plume, plume, plume plume over over the the remainsremains

As As the the moves moves

plume, plume,

plume plume

over over the the

remainsremains ofof thethe

the the plume plume

tail, tail, now now a a hot hot spot, spot,

may may form form a a hot hot

spotspot volcano.volcano.

Fig. 6.22

ContinuedContinued plateplate movementmovement overover thethe hothot spotspot createscreates aa hot-spothot-spot

ContinuedContinued plateplate movementmovement overover thethe hothot spotspot createscreates aa hot-spothot-spot volcanovolcano chain.chain.

Fig. 6.22