About This Chapter
Who's it for?
Anyone who needs help learning or mastering college physical geology material will benefit from taking this course. You will be able to grasp the subject matter faster, retain critical knowledge longer and earn better grades. You're in the right place if you:
- Have fallen behind in understanding plate tectonics theories and evidence.
- Need an efficient way to learn about plate tectonics in geology.
- Learn best with engaging auditory and visual tools.
- Struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD.
- Experience difficulty understanding your teachers.
- Missed class time and need to catch up.
- Can't access extra science learning resources at school.
How it works:
- Start at the beginning, or identify the topics that you need help with.
- Watch and learn from fun videos, reviewing as needed.
- Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
- Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
- Submit questions to one of our instructors for personalized support if you need extra help.
- Verify you're ready by completing the Plate Tectonics in Geology chapter exam.
Why it works:
- Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
- Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
- Be Ready on Test Day: Use the Plate Tectonics in Geology chapter exam to be prepared.
- Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any relevant question. They're here to help!
- Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.
Students will review:
In this chapter, you'll learn the answers to questions including:
- What were some of the defining features of Pangaea?
- What are the guiding principles behind plate tectonics theory?
- How does the Theory of Continental Drift work?
- What are the major plates of the lithosphere?
- What causes plate movement?
- How do convergent, divergent and transform boundaries differ?
- How do scientists define paleomagnetism and hot spots?
- What causes the seafloor to spread?
- What is the definition of polar reversal?
1. What is Pangaea? - Theory & Definition
The continents you know have existed for a long time, but not in their current locations. In fact, over 200 million years ago Pangaea broke apart by plate tectonic movement to form the continents we see today.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Major Plates of the Lithosphere: Earth's Tectonic Plates
The outer shell of the earth, the lithosphere, is broken up into tectonic plates. The seven major plates are the African plate, Antarctic plate, Eurasian plate, Indo-Australian plate, North American plate, Pacific plate and South American plate.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. What is a Normal Fault? - Definition & Example
A normal fault is no more typical, or better, than any other kind of fault. But it is responsible for certain mountain ranges and other interesting geological features in the earth's crust.
12. Who was Alfred Wegener? - Biography, Facts, Theory & Accomplishments
Learn about Alfred Wegener, the father of continental drift theory. While his work was not widely accepted during his lifetime, advancements in imaging and technology helped to prove his theory that the Earth's continents have changed position over time.
13. How Plate Movement Affects Earthquakes, Tsunamis & Volcanic Eruptions
Earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis are all dangerous natural disasters, but they also have something else in common - tectonic plate movement. In this lesson, you'll see how these seemingly different events actually come from similar geological beginnings.
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 Introduction to Physical Geology: Help and Review course
- Introduction to Geology: Help and Review
- Earth Materials: Help and Review
- Mineral Types, Properties, and Uses: Help and Review
- Earth and Celestial Rocks: Help and Review
- Igneous Rocks in Geology: Help and Review
- Sedimentary Rocks in Geology: Help and Review
- Metamorphic Rocks in Geology: Help and Review
- Rock Deformation, Geological Folds & Faults: Help and Review
- Weathering, Soil & Erosion: Help and Review
- Running Water in Geology: Help and Review
- Ground Water in Geology: Help and Review
- Glaciers in Geology: Help and Review
- Oceans in Geology: Help and Review
- Deserts and Wind: Help and Review
- Water Balance in Geology: Help and Review
- The Universe: Help and Review
- Geologic Time & Radiometric Dating: Help and Review
- Earth's Spheres, Surface & Structure: Help and Review
- Atmospheric Sciences: Help and Review
- Earthquakes in Geology: Help and Review
- Energy Resources in Geology: Help and Review
- Renewable & Nonrenewable Resources: Help and Review
- Economic Geology & Mineral Resources: Help and Review
- Human Impact on the Earth & Environment: Help and Review
- Environmental Sustainability in Physical Geology: Help and Review
- Environmental Risk Analysis in Physical Geology: Help and Review
- Ethics, Politics & the Environment: Help and Review