What is a plate in plate tectonics?

Question:

What is a plate in plate tectonics?

Outer and Inner Layers:

The Earth's surface creates a division between its atmosphere and its crust and core. The atmosphere and the innards of the Earth are comprised of five layers each. The outermost layer below the Earth's surface is known as the crust.

Answer and Explanation:

Plates in plate tectonics are slabs of rocks that make up the Earth's lithosphere. As part of the Earth's lithosphere, which makes up the Earth's crust, the plates create the surfaces of the Earth's landmasses and oceans. The major plates include the African, Antarctic, Eurasian, North American, South American, India-Australian, and Pacific plates.

While the plates vary in thickness, they tend to average being around 62 miles thick. Plates can be either continental plates that create the continental crust made up of components like silicon and aluminum or oceanic plates that create the oceanic crust made largely of silicon and magnesium.

These plates are separated from each other and move in relation to each other. Such movements such often form convergent, divergent, or transform boundaries.


Learn more about this topic:

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Plate Tectonics: Theory & Definition

from General Studies Earth & Space Science: Help & Review

Chapter 7 / Lesson 5
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