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*Plate Tectonics

Vocabulary terms based on Prentice Hall Science Explorer Inside Earth Chapter 1

seismic wavesVibrations that travel through Earth carrying the energy released during an earthquake
pressureThe force exerted on a surface divided by the area over which the force is exerted
crustThe layer of rock that forms the Earth's outer surface
basaltA dark, dense, igneous rock with a fine texture, found in oceanic crust
graniteA usually light-colored igneous rock that is found in continental crust
mantleThe layer of hot, solid material between Earth's crust & core
lithosphereA rigid layer made up of the uppermost part of the mantle and the crust
asthenosphereThe soft layer of the mantle on which the lithosphere floats
outer coreA layer of molten iron & nickel the surrounds the inner core of Earth
inner coreA dense sphere of solid iron & nickel at the center of Earth
radiationThe transfer of energy through space
conductionThe transfer of heat within a meterial or between materials that are touching
convectionThe transfer of heat by movement of a fluid
densityThe amount of mass in a given space; mass per unit volume
convection currentThe movement of a fluid, caused by differences in temperature, that transfers heat from one part of the fluid to another
continental driftThe hypothesis that the continents slowly move across Earth's surface
PangaeaThe name of the single landmass that broke apart 200 million years ago and gave rise to today's continents
fossilA trace of an ancient organism that has been preserved in rock
mid-ocean ridgeAn undersea mountain chain where new ocean floor is produced; a divergent plate boundary
sonarA device that determines the distance of an object under water by recording echoes of sound waves
sea-floor spreadingThe process by which molten material adds new oceanic crust to the ocean floor
deep-ocean trenchA deep valley along the ocean floor beneath which oceanic crust slowly sinks toward the mantle
subductionThe process by which oceanic crust sinks beneath a deep-ocean trench and back into the mantle at a convergent plate boundary
plateA section of the lithosphere that slowly moves over the asthenosphere, carrying pieces of continental and oceanic crust
scientific theoryA well-tested concept that explains a wide range of observations
plate tectonicsThe theory that pieces of Earth's lithosphere are in constant motion, driven by convection currents in the mantle
faultA break in Earth's crust where masses of rock slip past each other
divergent boundaryA plate boundary where two plates move away from each other
rift valleyA deep valley that forms where two plates move apart
convergent boundaryA plate boundary where two plates move toward each other
transform boundaryA plate boundary where two plates move past each other in opposite directions

O'Rourke Middle School
Burnt Hills, NY

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