Online Plate Tectonics Course Information

Plate tectonics examines the movement of the large plates that form the Earth's crust. This topic is usually taught within earth science courses in geology or geophysics degree programs. Many fields are related to the study of plate tectonics, including seismology, volcanology, and tectonophysics.

Online Courses in Plate Tectonics

Described here are some common online courses that include the study of plate tectonics.

  • Geology and Geophysics Course: Plate tectonics is one physical process that shapes the Earth. In this online course, students examine this process, as well as earthquakes, volcanoes, rivers, glaciers and other geological phenomena to gain a better understanding of the planet. Current issues such as global warming and environmental protection are discussed.
  • Solid Earth Theory Course: This course examines plate tectonics from a global perspective. Students explore the evolution and shifting of the continents and oceans, and about the science applications used to study plate tectonics.
  • Earth History Course: This online plate tectonics course discusses how human evolution has impacted the Earth's systems. Students review the relationships among plate tectonics, organic evolution and climate change, and how those forces created today's ecosystems. The impact of geology in the shaping of human society is also examined.
  • People and Plate Tectonics Course: This course focuses on the development of plate tectonics science. Students research the scientists whose work contributed to the understanding of plate tectonics, and explore topics like the Earth's magnetic field, earthquakes and faults, and the Earth's mantle.
  • Planetary Geology Course: Students in this course will study and compare the varied plate tectonic systems of asteroids, moons and comets.
  • Geostatistics Course: In this course, students learn about statistical methods for evaluating geological data, including information about plate tectonics. Topics of study include spatial interpolation and stochastic modeling.
  • Geohazards Course: This course provides an overview of natural disasters, their environmental impacts and possible response strategies. Some of the disasters included in the curriculum, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis, are often caused by plate tectonics.

Program Information

As part of training in geology or geophysics, students learn about plate tectonics, which deals with the Earth's formation and the movements of its crust. Topics include how shifts in the plates build mountains, create volcanoes, affect the seafloor and cause the regional stresses that produce earthquakes. Online courses are available in undergraduate or graduate degree programs, which can lead to a bachelor's or master's degree, or as stand-alone courses for personal interest. Courses may be self-paced or adhere to a weekly schedule. Specialized geology software could be required for some classes. Students should also find out whether classes include on-campus labs or field trips to see geological formations.

Students who are interested in plate tectonics can learn about the subject through online courses in geology and geophysics. The theoretical and technical aspects of the field are typically covered.

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