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The Theory of Plate Tectonics

How did THAT get THERE?

Have you ever wondered why there are mountains in Colorado, how people live on Hawaii if there is an active volcano, or why California is always talking about earthquakes?


These are some questions to think about as we discover the Theory of Plate Tectonics.

Earth's Interior

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Earth's Interior Quiz

Log onto Discovery Ed. and complete the quiz under Assignments. You will be able to re-take the quiz as homework to improve your test score.http://www.discoveryeducation.com/

Understanding Density

As we demonstrated in class, density is a valuable concept to understand for all concepts in science and life. Density is dependent on the state of matter the material is and how much space is in between each element. We need to be aware of the density differences between Earth's layers, especially oceanic and continental crust. The density difference between these two crusts provides an explanation for plate interactions.
Float or Sink - Cool Science Experiment

Seafloor Spreading

One of the first plate interactions we discovered is seafloor spreading. This is a divergent plate boundary that creates new Earth.
plate tectonics

Rice Boil Demo

The circular motion of boiling rice can be used as a model for convection. Heat from the hot plat causes the rice to rise and eventually fall back and rises again. Convection occurs within asthenosphere and the upper levels of the atmosphere. This is the driving force of plate tectonics, which provides evidence for the Theory of Plate Tectonics and the concept of Continental Drift.

Plate Boundaries

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National Geographic Explains

There are a few handfuls of major plates and dozens of smaller, or minor, plates.

  • Six of the majors are named for the continents embedded within them, such as the North American, African, and Antarctic plates.
  • Though smaller in size, the minors are no less important when it comes to shaping the Earth.
  • The tiny Juan de Fuca plate is largely responsible for the volcanoes that dot the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The plates make up Earth's outer shell, called the lithosphere.

  • This includes the crust and uppermost part of the mantle.
  • Churning currents in the molten rocks below propel them along like a jumble of conveyor belts in disrepair. Most geologic activity stems from the interplay where the plates meet or divide.

The movement of the plates creates three types of tectonic boundaries

  1. convergent, where plates move into one another
  2. divergent, where plates move apart
  3. transform, where plates move sideways in relation to each other.



Convergent Boundaries

Where plates serving landmasses collide, the crust crumples and buckles into mountain ranges. India and Asia crashed about 55 million years ago, slowly giving rise to the Himalaya, the highest mountain system on Earth. As the mash-up continues, the mountains get higher. Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth, may be a tiny bit taller tomorrow than it is today.

These convergent boundaries also occur where a plate of ocean dives, in a process called subduction, under a landmass. As the overlying plate lifts up, it also forms mountain ranges. In addition, the diving plate melts and is often spewed out in volcanic eruptions such as those that formed some of the mountains in the Andes of South America.

At ocean-ocean convergences, one plate usually dives beneath the other, forming deep trenches like the Mariana Trench in the North Pacific Ocean, the deepest point on Earth. These types of collisions can also lead to underwater volcanoes that eventually build up into island arcs like Japan.



Divergent Boundaries

At divergent boundaries in the oceans, magma from deep in the Earth's mantle rises toward the surface and pushes apart two or more plates. Mountains and volcanoes rise along the seam. The process renews the ocean floor and widens the giant basins. A single mid-ocean ridge system connects the world's oceans, making the ridge the longest mountain range in the world.

On land, giant troughs such as the Great Rift Valley in Africa form where plates are tugged apart. If the plates there continue to diverge, millions of years from now eastern Africa will split from the continent to form a new landmass. A mid-ocean ridge would then mark the boundary between the plates.



Transform Boundaries

The San Andreas Fault in California is an example of a transform boundary, where two plates grind past each other along what are called strike-slip faults. These boundaries don't produce spectacular features like mountains or oceans, but the halting motion often triggers large earthquakes, such as the 1906 one that devastated San Francisco.

Play-doh Plate Tectonics

Now that we have uncovered how the plates move, lets dive into what those movements create! This activity will have us using our reasoning to create play-doh models. We will then share and compare on our models using Padlet. When your model is ready, tap the Padlet: enter your name, and take a photo.


Expert groups

1. Work together with your table team to re-create one of the land forms listed

2. Pick a light or dark color to represent the type of plates

3. Build a play-doh model, take a picture of it and upload it to the Padlet page

4. Be ready to tell us what the type of plate interaction

Plate Tectonic Review

Chapter 3 Plate Tectonics Topic The theory of Plate Tectonics Std 9

Ring of FIre

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Volcano Research Project

Plate tectonic activity can create many different land forms and naturally occurring events; including, mountains, rift valleys, trenches, geysers, volcanoes, tsunamis, mud slides, earthquakes and more. Volcanoes come in all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of activity. They are not always big, cone-shaped mountains spewing out lava in grand explosions.


Purpose

This project will allow you to become an expert on the life of a volcano. Each team will be responsible for assigning roles and completing the project using digital research, collaboration, problem solving,and creativity.


Background

Smore information, Seafloor spreading video, Rice Boil Demo, Plate Tectonics Nearpod, Play-doh Plate Tectonics, Plate tectonics review video


Methods


  • Get together in groups of three.
  • As a team, choose a member to pick a number from the pumpkin. This will determine which volcano they will be assigned to.
  • Review the Research Questions and figure out who will be responsible for each section.
  • Gathering enough information to answer the research questions.
  • Prepare a presentation using an app of your choice; include, answers to questions and visual models, pictures or videos to represent your research.
  • Please remember to do your very best, follow all the necessary guidelines, and be mindful of the due dates given.


Results

Your final product.


Conclusion

Complete a reflection of:


  1. What have you learned?
  2. What questions do you still have?
  3. What are the positive and negatives of this project?


Fill out the Self Assessment



I look forward to seeing your creations, listening to your discoveries, and reading about your intriguing volcanoes.



Research questions, rubric and helpful resources can be found below.

Volcano Examples

Research Questions

Below are the research questions that need to be answered. This is the information you should put into your presentation. Options for presentations could be Powerpoint, Prezi, Emaze, Smore, Nearpod, Word, Google Docs and a teacher approved tool. Log on to Discovery Education to record the answers to your research questions and submit by the due date.



Team Member #1: General Overview of Volcanoes

1. Name, describe, and compare the different types (there are 3 main types, however this number can vary depending on how specific you want to get) of volcanoes found on Earth (include pictures of each type). How do these volcanoes form?

2. What are the 3 main types of magma and how do they differ from each other ?

3. In terms of the location of the Earth’s plates, where do most of the Earth’s volcanoes and earthquakes occur? Explain your answer.

4. What are hot spots and how do they form. Provide at least 2 examples (with a brief description included) of active hotspots on Earth today.

5. What is the “ring of fire?” Provide a picture showing where the ring of fire is located.

6. Besides volcanic eruptions, provide a description of the following types of volcanic phenomena (include pictures): mud volcanoes, hot springs, and geysers.

7. What are the 3 main types of magma and how do they differ from each other ?



Team member #2: Description of a Volcano in the World

1. What is the name, location, coordinates, tectonic plate and geological area of your volcano? (provide a picture of if, and if possible, a map that shows what part of the world it is found in)

2. What is its age, type, and composition? Include size and features.

3. What is the volcanoes current elevation?

4. Is the volcano active, dormant, or extinct? Explain what it means if a volcano is active, dormant, or extinct.

5. Does the volcano usually have “violent” eruptions or “quiet” eruptions (or both violent and quiet) (include pictures)? What factors determine whether a volcano has a “violent” or “quiet” eruption.

6. How frequently does it erupt or has it erupted throughout history (if necessary, provide an approximation)?

7. What are some of the effects of past eruptions on the landscape, people and the planet, in general?



Team member #3: Hazards of Volcanoes & Earthquakes and Predicting Eruptions

1. How do tsunamis form?

2. How are volcanic eruptions capable of changing the global climate? Explain your answer.

3. Describe some ways people can reduce the risks of being harmed by volcanoes and/or earthquakes.

4. What is liquefaction and what is it capable of doing to man-made structures (ex. highways, bridges, buildings) (include pictures). Be specific.

5. What are some techniques that scientists use to try to predict earthquakes and eruption of volcanoes to prepare for future disasters? (ex. of scientific instruments: seismometers, tiltmeters, laser ranging devices, ground deformation, and surface changes in elevation) (include pictures).

6. What are the positive consequences (benefits) of volcanic eruptions?

Rubric

Found in Discovery Education: Assignments
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Resources

Volcano Fact Sheets

Tentative Schedule

1/2 A
  • Day 1: Earth's Interior Quiz, Seafloor Spreading Video, Rice Boil Demo, Padlet, Nearpod
  • Day 2: Plate Boundary Chart, Play-doh Plate Tectonics, Plate tectonic review video, Volcano Research Project intro & work day
  • Day 3: Volcano Research Project work day
  • Day 4: Volcano Research Project presentation



1/2 B

  • Day 1: Earth's Interior Quiz, Seafloor Spreading Video, Rice Boil Demo, Padlet, Nearpod
  • Day 2: Plate Boundary Chart, Play-doh Plate Tectonics, Plate tectonic review video, Volcano Research Project intro & work day
  • Day 3: Volcano Research Project work day
  • Day 4: Volcano Research Project presentation



3/4 A

  • Day : Earth's Interior Quiz, Seafloor Spreading Video, Rice Boil Demo, Padlet, Nearpod
  • Day 2: Plate Boundary Chart, Play-doh Plate Tectonics, Plate tectonic review video, Volcano Research Project intro & work day
  • Day 3: Volcano Research Project work day
  • Day 4: Volcano Research Project presentation



3/4 B

  • Day 1: Finish Study Guide, Earth's Interior Diagram, Seafloor Spreading Video, Rice Boil Demo, Padlet
  • Day 2: Review Study Guide, Earth's Interior Quiz, Nearpod, Plate Boundary Chart
  • Day 3: Finish Plate Boundary Chart, Play-doh Plate Tectonics?? Plate tectonic review video (In class or on own???) Volcano Research Project intro and work day
  • Day 4: Volcano Research Project presentation



7 A/B

  • Day 1-3: Earth's Interior Quiz, Seafloor Spreading Video, Rice Boil Demo, Padlet, Nearpod, Plate Boundary Chart
  • Day 3-5: Play-doh Plate Tectonics, Plate tectonic review video, Volcano Research Project intro and work day
  • Day 6-8: Volcano Research Project work day
  • Day 8-9: Volcano Research Project presentation