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Plate Tectonics Unit 3

High School
Earth Science
Unit 3, Ch. 17-19

theory of plate tectonicsthe crust of the Earth is broken into plates that move around due to convection currents in the mantle
theory of continental driftWegner's theory that the continents were once together based on rocks, fossils and the fit of the continents like a puzzle
convergent boundariestwo plates coming together; ex. Pacific Ring of Fire
divergent boundariestwo plates moving apart; ex. Mid-Ocean Ridge in the Atlantic
transform boundariestwo plates sliding past each other; ex. San Andreas Fault in California
shield volcanobasaltic lava accumulates during non-explosive eruptions
cinder cone volcanomagma is ejected high into the air and falls back to Earth, piling around the vent
composite volcanomagma that is alternatingly spit out and gently rolling out with other volcanic fragments
viscosityhow fluid flows
basaltic magmalow viscosity, low dissolved gas, low silica, quiet reactions
andesitic magmahigh silica, medium viscosity, medium reactions
rhyolitic magmahigh silica, high viscosity, high levels of dissolved gases, explosive eruptions
earthquakewhen rock fragments move, they release energy in the form of seismic waves
focuswhere an earthquake occurs
epicenterthe point on the surface that is directly above the focus
seismographan instrument that records seismic waves
subductionprocess by which one tectonic plate slips beneath another
hot spotunusually hot area in the Earth's mantle that is stationary for long periods of time
calderalarge crater, up to 50 km in diameter, that forms when the side of a volcano collapses into the magma chamber during or after an eruption
craterbowl-shaped depression that forms around the central vent at the summit of a volcano
faultfracture in the Earth's crust that occurs when stress is applied too quickly or stress is too great
primary waveseismic wave that squeezes and pulls rocks in the same direction that the wave travels, causing rock particles to move back and forth
secondary waveseismic wave that causes rock particles to move at right angles to the direction of the wave
stressforces per unit area that act on a material--compression, tension, and shear
straindeformation of materials in response to stress
surface waveseismic wave that moves in two directions as it passes through rocks, causing the ground to move both up and down and side to side
seismogramrecord produced by a seismometer that can provide individual tracking of each type of seismic wave
seismometerinstrument used to measure horizontal or vertical motion during an earthquake
magnitudemeasure of the energy released during an earthquake, which can be described using the Richter Scale
modified Mercalli scalemeasures earthquake intensity on a scale of I-XII; the higher the number, the greater the damage the earthquake has caused
Richter scalenumerical scale used to measure the magnitude of an earthquake

North Carolina Virtual Public School

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