About This Chapter
Earth's Formation and Plate Tectonics - Chapter Summary
Explore theories and scientific evidence about the plates that make up the earth's surface with the lessons in this chapter. Go over plate movements, characteristics and changes that impact the planet's geology.
You will learn facts about plate types and boundaries, as well as phenomena that help explain changes to these formations. You should be able to do the following once you have successfully reviewed this chapter:
- Recognize geological evidence that explains Earth's formation
- Explain Alfred Wegener's theory of continental drift and identify evidence that supports this theory
- Define plate tectonics and what causes plate movement
- Identify types of plate boundaries
- Compare active and passive continental margins
- Provide details about underwater mountain ranges
- Discuss how ocean drilling supports the theory of plate tectonics
- Show how paleomagnetism and hot spots help to confirm theories of plate tectonics
- Detail information about sea floor spreading and pole reversal
Complex information is presented in an easy-to-follow manner through these brief video lessons. You can watch the videos and then print lesson transcripts to use as reference guides. You can also assess how much you have learned by taking the quizzes that accompany each lesson.
1. Geological Evidence of Earth's Formation
How did the Earth form? When did it form? And more importantly, how do we know? Learn about the evidence we have for the formation of the Earth. See how many clues you picked up by taking a quiz.
2. Alfred Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift
People used to think that Earth was static, and that it never changed. Gradually, a body of evidence was gathered that made no sense in this model. Alfred Wegener, Geologic Supersleuth, laid the groundwork for a whole new theory for the large-scale changing nature of the earth.
3. Evidence for the Mechanism of Continental Drift
As scientists began to explore the ocean floor after World War II, they discovered many new clues to help them solve a mystery that had begun decades earlier - how the continents moved about on the surface of the earth.
4. Plate Tectonics: A Unified Theory for Change of the Earth's Surface
After many years of trying to solve the mystery of the moving continents, enough data and evidence was collected to develop a unifying theory of how the surface of the earth changes. It's called plate tectonics.
5. Causes of Tectonic Plate Movement
In this lesson, we explore the causes of plate movement, including thermal convection, ridge push and slab pull. Students will learn how these processes complement each other and form a theory for tectonic plate movement.
6. Plate Boundaries: Convergent, Divergent, and Transform Boundaries
In the theory of plate tectonics, the earth's crust is broken into plates that move around relative to each other. As a result of this movement, three types of plate boundaries are formed: divergent, convergent, and transform boundaries.
7. Active & Passive Continental Margins
Continental margins are areas that separate the continental crust and oceanic crust. Discover the differences between the tectonically active continental margins and the relatively quiet passive continental margins.
8. Oceanic Ridge System: Formation & Distribution
The oceanic ridge system is a continuous underwater mountain range with parts found in every ocean of the world. The ridge system is created when magma rising between diverging plates of the lithosphere cools and forms a new layer of crust.
9. Ocean Drilling as Evidence for Plate Tectonics
The Deep Sea Drilling Project extracted samples of the ocean floor that provided evidence to support the hypothesis of seafloor spreading and the theory of plate tectonics. Learn how these samples provided proof.
10. Paleomagnetism and Hot Spots: Evidence for Plate Tectonics
Paleomagnetism is the study of past magnetic fields. Hot spots are fixed pockets of heat that well up to form volcanic features. Learn how paleomagnetism and the study of hot spots provide evidence that supports the theory of plate tectonics.
11. Sea Floor Spreading and Polar Reversal
Sea floor spreading is the process by which new oceanic crust is formed by the upwelling of magma through diverging tectonic plates. Learn about the relationship between sea floor spreading and polar reversals detected on the ocean floor.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the NMTA Middle Grades General Science (204): Practice & Study Guide course
- Safety Procedures and Hazards in Scientific Research
- The History and Nature of Science
- Principles and Procedures of Scientific Inquiry
- Using Math in Science
- Introduction to Matter
- Organization of Matter
- Atomic Structure & Nuclear Chemistry
- Chemical Bonds & Reactions
- The Periodic Table
- Elements, Compounds & Mixtures
- Simple Compounds & Chemical Formulas
- Phase Changes for Liquids & Solids
- Rates of Reaction
- Work, Energy, & Power in Physics
- Electricity, Potential & Capacitance in Physics
- Newton's Laws & Gravity
- Understanding Fluids in Physics
- Waves, Sound, and Light
- Overview of Cell Structure & Function
- Cellular Respiration & Photosynthesis
- Mitosis & Meiosis
- Animal Reproduction and Development
- Male Reproductive System
- Female Reproductive System
- Physiology I: The Circulatory, Respiratory, Digestive, Excretory, and Musculoskeletal Systems
- Physiology II: The Nervous, Immune, and Endocrine Systems
- Plant Biology
- Plant Reproduction and Growth
- Plant & Fungi Structures & Functions
- Mendelian Genetics & Mechanisms of Heredity
- The Nucleotide Structure of DNA & RNA
- Processes & Steps of DNA Replication
- The Transcription and Translation Process
- Evolution: Theories and Principles
- Classification of Organisms
- The Origin and History of Life On Earth
- Understanding Ecosystems
- Minerals and Rocks
- Weathering and Erosion
- The Hydrosphere
- Coastal Features & Adaptation
- The Atmosphere
- Weather and Storms
- The Solar System and Universe
- NMTA Middle Grades General Science Flashcards