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Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plate Tectonics

Try out these games to help you master the vocabulary that accompanies our unit volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics.

aaa slow-moving type of lava that hardens to form rough, jagged chunks
activesaid of a volcano that is erupting or has shown signs of erupting in the near future
aftershockan earthquake that occurs after a larger earthquake in the same area
asthenospherethe soft layer of the mantle on which the lithosphere floats
basalta dark, dense igneous rock with a fine texture, found in oceanic crust
calderathe large hole at the top of a volcano formed when the roof of a volcano's magma chamber collapses
cinder conea steep, cone-shaped hill or mountain made of volcanic ash, cinders and bombs piled up around a volcano's opening
composite volcanoa tall, cone-shaped mountain in which layers of lava alternate with layers of ash and other volcanic materials; also known as a stratovolcano
convergent boundarya plate boundary where two plates move TOWARD each other
cratera bowl-shaped area that forms around a volcano's central opening
crustthe layer of rock that forms Earth's outer surface
divergent boundarya plate boundary where two plates move AWAY from each other
dormantsaid of a volcano that does NOT show signs of erupting in the near future
earthquakethe shaking that results from the movement of rock beneath Earth's surface
epicenterthe point on Earth's surface directly above an earthquake's focus
extinctsaid of a volcano that is unlikely to erupt again
faulta break in Earth's crust where slabs of rock slip past each other
geologythe study of the structure and composition of planet Earth
hot spotan area where magma from deep within the mantle melts through the crust above it
igneous rocka type of rock that forms from the cooling of molten rock at or below Earth's surface
inner corea dense sphere of solid iron and nickel in the center of Earth
lavaliquid magma that reaches the surface; also the rock formed when liquid lava hardens
liquefactionthe process by which an earthquake's violent movement suddenly turns loose soil into liquid mud
lithospherea rigid layer made up of the uppermost part of the mantle and the crust
magma chamberthe pocket beneath a volcano where magma collects
mantlethe layer of hot, solid material between Earth's crust and core
Mercalli scalea scale that rates earthquakes according to their intensity and how much damage they cause
metamorphic rocka type of rock that forms from an existing rock that is changed by heat, pressure or chemical reactions
mid-ocean ridgethe undersea mountain chain where new ocean floor is produced; a divergent plate boundary
orerock that contains a metal or economically useful mineral
outer corea layer of molten iron and nickel that surrounds the inner core of Earth
P wavePrimary wave; a type of seismic wave that compresses and expands the ground
pahoehoea hot, fast-moving type of lava that hardens to form smooth, ropelike coils
pangaeathe name of the single landmass that broke apart about 200 million years ago and gave rise to today's continents
platea section of the lithosphere that slowly moves over the asthenosphere, carrying pieces of the continental and oceanic crust
pyroclastic flowthe expulsion of ash, cinders, bombs and gases during an explosive volcanic eruption
Richter scalea scale that rates seismic waves as measured by a particular type of mechanical seismograph
S waveSecondary wave;a type of seismic wave that moves the ground up and down and side to side
sedimentsmall, solid particles of material from rocks and organisms which are moved by water or wind
sedimentary rocka type of rock that forms from particles from other rocks or the remains of plants and animals that are pressed and cemented together
shield volcanoa wide, gently sloping mountain made of layers of lava and formed by quiet eruptions
silicaa material that is formed from the elements oxygen and silicon; silica is found in magma and sand
subductionthe process by which oceanic crust sinks beneath a deep-ocean trench and back into the mantle at a convergent plate boundary
transform boundarya plate boundary where two plates move past each other in opposite directions; an example is the San Andreas Fault
trencha deep canyon in the ocean floor
volcanoa weak spot in the crust where magma has come to the surface

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