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Questions tagged [plate-tectonics]

The theory that Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core.

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Will Nanga Parbat eventually become taller than Mount Everest?

It is a well-known fact that Mount Everest, a Himalayan mountain whose summit stands at an elevation of $8,848.86 \text{ m }(29,031.7\text{ ft})$ above mean sea level, is currently the tallest ...
Pustam Raut's user avatar
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Is Mt Everest the highest mountain peak we know of in earth’s history?

I’m currently reading John McPhee’s Annals of the Former World, which is discussing plate tectonics. He often gives figures for uplifts at subduction zones measured in tens of thousands of feet. This ...
templatetypedef's user avatar
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Why hasn't all the water on earth evaporated and been frozen at the poles?

It seems like over a long enough time scale, if the surface temperature of a planet varies between perennially below freezing and occasionally above freezing, that all of the water on the planet would ...
Cirdec's user avatar
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If the Pacific Ocean is 750 million years old, Why can't oceanic crust be older than 200 million years?

Since the first rocks of the pacific Ocean plates solidified from magma coming out of a rift 750 million years ago, shouldn't they be much older than the maximum age of oceanic crust (around 200 ...
Antozoa's user avatar
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What determines the shape of tectonic plates?

I understand plate tectonics at approximately the level of the Wikipedia entry, but I have not idea what factors determine the particular locations of the plate boundaries. Do we have a model for the ...
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Question regarding the breakup of India from Eastern Gondwana [closed]

I wanted to ask this question as it relates to a project I am working on. In this "timeline" when India broke away from Gondwana the Indian Plate took a small piece of land from Eastern ...
GoofyGoober05's user avatar
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If there was no Glaciation, what would the USA great Lakes look like?

I guess, what they looked like before Glaciation could also work as an answer. Everything I have seen on the lakes only mention their post-glacial forms even when some of them mention that they formed ...
The Great One's user avatar
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What would Canada's larger lakes (Bear, Great Slave, Winnipeg, and Athabasca) look like without glaciation?

Canada's larger lakes (minus the "Great Lakes" that it shares with the USA) sit on the edge of the Canadian Shield (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TmSP02zPaI). On the other side of the ...
The Great One's user avatar
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What is the maximum intensity with which an earthquake can struck Chitral city in Northern Pakistan?

I am working on a disaster response logistics case study in which I am using Mi-17 helicopters for transportation of relief to the affected areas in main Chitral city. In this regard, I want to ...
Engr. Moiz Ahmad's user avatar
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Is the Pacific Plate composed of smaller plates?

The question, Why are all lower mantle plumes under oceans? has the following diagram which was taken from Wikipedia Commons. About half of the large red dots occur on or near the boundaries of ...
Fred's user avatar
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Is it inaccurate to describe Earth's mantle as "soft and plastic"?

The Earth's mantle, away from the occasional magma chamber, is solid. But it flows over time and so is described as "pliant", "hot chocolate", "toothpaste", etc. Glaciers ...
Kevin Kostlan's user avatar
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Do subducted continents rise up again through ridges?

Layman here, sorry if this is a stupid question. I have a geology friend who recently told me that plate tectonics is like how warm milk cools on top to form thin solid layers. The convection cells in ...
AlphaLife's user avatar
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If among oceanic crusts older means heavier, then why is old continental crust lighter than new oceanic crusts?

When we consider two oceanic crusts, the older oceanic crust is heavier and the newer oceanic crust is lighter. But when we consider two crusts, one continental and the other oceanic, continental ...
Koushik Sarkar's user avatar
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Is the earth crust under the pacific ocean heavier than in the rest of the planet?

Please bear with me, since I don't know much about geography or geology. I was looking at an earth globe and noticed the pacific ocean covers virtually half of the planet (more or less). How is it ...
Joe DiNottra's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why is basalt denser than granite?

If lava is nothing but magma breaking through the earth's surface, then why is basalt more dense than granite? I understand that something happens during the cooling process, but cannot find any ...
Koushik Sarkar's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
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Do these rock layers correspond to different years?

This is a close picture of a cliff in the north coast of Spain. As you can see, the rock is composed of multiple thin layers, alternating between dark and light materials. Could this be the result of ...
Jaime Caffarel's user avatar
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Do tidal forces affect subduction?

I know subduction in plate tectonics is mainly density driven. Probably a hypothetical question, but can weaknesses caused by tidal forces have an influence on the start of a subduction zone? Would ...
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Is the Theia impact partly responsible for the distribution of mantle plumes?

I was looking at a map of the distribution of mantle plumes, and was wondering if they could be residual material that was either brought here or affected by the Theia impact. It seems to me that this ...
blacktopshaman's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
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Can a tectonic plate subduct under one plate while another plate subducts under it along the same boundary?

At a triple junction plate boundary there are three tectonic plates meeting. We have plenty of examples of these boundaries on Earth, notably the Afar Triple Junction, Mendocino Triple Junction, and ...
Martamo's user avatar
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Google Earth type, online plate-techtonics demonstration over time

I once found an site on the internet that displayed the continents in a Google Earth type setting where you could spin, zoom and navigate around the Earth but in different geological time periods. You ...
karisiasafaris's user avatar
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1 answer
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Speculative Plate Techtonics - Resolving intersecting subductions

I'm working through Artifaxian's (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzD_WVsEIRM) series on using gPlates to make tectonic history. I've run into the place where I have two subduction ridges about to ...
Stephen Rider's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
133 views

What forces plays the role in order to subduct the denser tectonic plate under the lighter plate?

I am a 10th grade student and I don't know much about geology but I'm learning about subduction online. It's always mentioned that the denser plate gets subducted under the lesser denser plate. I want ...
Shyam's user avatar
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Does the Moon affect earthquakes?

Does the Moon, through factors like its location (if it is at an apsis i.e closest point or furthest point in its orbit) or some changes in density, affect earthquakes on the Earth? Earthquakes are a ...
user avatar
7 votes
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5k views

Would the US East Coast rise if everyone living there moved away?

I watched a documentary about research on the coasts of Greenland where the sea level has fallen. According to the research, this is because a lot of the glaciers have melted, resulting in less weight ...
Alexis Wilke's user avatar
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Least equatorial ( and tidal) bulge consistent with modest amounts of water in polar regions

In World Building I asked a question about the climate of an hypothetical planet. There Vogon poet said that Everyone above 10° latitude will be in permanent drought Considering that there were no ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
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Origin of the continents

Visiting from WorldBuilding SE. Someone recently asked a question that dusted off an old theory I had once had, so I started digging. Sadly I could find little more on the topic than the first time I ...
Gillgamesh's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
91 views

Why are the supposed-to-be results of collision and/or subduction formed in an area where collision and/or subduction didn't happen?

Please correct me if I have said something wrong, as it might be the answer to my question. Also, these are all the things that I've learned through self-studying, so I might have been mislead. ...
Harvey's user avatar
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373 views

How is felsic magma produced at island arcs?

I previously believed that continental crust owes its lower density to the partial melting of oceanic crust; the mantle would partially melt at mid-ocean ridges to produce basaltic crust, and when ...
richard's user avatar
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Would obliquity and precessional changes of Earth affect the accuracy of GPS-based measurement of tectonic movements?

The rate and direction of tectonic movements can be measured by comparing the coordinates of the same GPS receiver over time. The coordinates are obtained using trilateration. All materials I could ...
seamos's user avatar
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Does the Plate tectonics contradict the theory of continental drift?

According to the theory of continental drift, South America and Africa was so closed to each other that the convex triangle of South America meets the concave hollow of Africa. Source: usgs.gov; ...
Michael's user avatar
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Is there any research on the relation of asteroid impacts and hot-spots?

In a new video by Atlas Pro on Hawaii linked below, he indicates a curious observation: Most hotspots antipode’s have sign’s of heavy impacts from asteroids. He postulated that the force of these ...
C-Consciousness's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
482 views

Are oceanic plates or continental plates heavier?

If you take a cilindrical section with radius 1 meter of both kinds of plate, which will have a larger mass? My guess is that continental plates are heavier than oceanic plates, because they are more ...
Riemann's user avatar
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What is causing the crustal extension exhibited by the Basin and Range province in western North America?

Is there any link with the subduction of the Farallon Plate and the associated spreading center?
John McCarthy's user avatar
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110 views

Can continental plates collide and fuse together without an orogenic band or magmatic arc or at the junction?

I have seen this diagram on Wikipedia (link below). It shows that some North American mini-plate boundaries are orogenic bands and some are magmatic arcs, and I think those correspond to continent/...
John McCarthy's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
62 views

Why is the Colorado Plateau so stable?

The Colorado Plateau somehow has avoided all the tectonic activity around it over hundreds of millions of years. Is it just luck, or is there something about that chunk of crust? I have toured the ...
John McCarthy's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why are there no volcanoes where continents collide with each other?

I understand that volcanoes occur where oceanic crust is subducted under continental crust such as the Andes. However, they don't occur at places like the Himalayas and Alps where continental crust is ...
John McCarthy's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
686 views

How likely are caverns inside the mantle?

Almost everyone wrongly assumes that the Earth's mantle is liquid, but it isn't (only the outer core is). Is it possible then that there are hollow spaces within the mantle, similar to caves in the ...
Giovanni's user avatar
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0 answers
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Difference between Ocean-Ocean subduction and Continental-Ocean from earthquake data

I am having a hard time finding this anywhere -- if no one can answer, I would appreciate a reference. I was doing introductory homework in earth science, and we had to determine the kind of plate ...
guest boy's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there a geological explanation for the recent Mammoth tusk discovery 185 miles off the California coast?

A recently publicized discovery of a Columbian Mammoth tusk located well of the coast of California in quite deep water made me wonder if geological conditions 100,000 years ago can explain how it got ...
justCal's user avatar
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2 votes
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What role does the hydrosphere play in tectonic plate convection?

I need to do a "how do different 'Earth's spheres' interact with each other" and I'm trying to figure out how the hydrosphere would affect the lithosphere if the ozone layer were to ...
Ryla's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
164 views

Tectonic plates terminology

I have a very basic doubt regarding what the tectonic plates mean. In Wiki article Subduction is defined as: Subduction is a geological process in which the oceanic lithosphere is recycled into the ...
dark_prince's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
262 views

When did the proto-Himalayas become non-volcanic?

In the normal course of events, when continents move toward each other, at least one coast will be associated with a subduction zone and corresponding volcanic activity. When the Indian subcontinent ...
rwallace's user avatar
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Is there any source that shows all of Earth's terrain changes from Pangea to present?

I teach a class on my state's history to middle school students. Our textbooks do not cover much historical geology, but its a subject students are fascinated in, and feel needs to be added. I want to ...
Village's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
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Why does the ocean floor look so scratchy?

Why does some part of the ocean floor look so scratchy? If you look at Google Earth image of the Indian ocean floor, especially the area south-west of Sumatra, it looks like some cosmic beast ...
user22796's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
147 views

Slab-breakoff - always connected to continent/continent collision?

The question came to me when pondering the Andes: Is a slab-breakoff always connected to the transition from subduction of oceanic crust to a continent/continent collision? Current understanding is ...
user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
236 views

How do the Andes get so high?

I'm interested in the limiting factors on the height of mountains. There is a very good explanation at https://www.quora.com/How-tall-can-a-mountain-become-on-Earth-Neil-deGrasse-Tyson-says-Mount-...
rwallace's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

What will happen to the Indian plate after it slides under the Eurasian Plate?

What will happen if the Indian Plate is done sliding under the Eurasian plate? I hypothesied some possible answers. Tell me the answer and if my hypothesis is not correct. Most likely to least. It ...
Tardy's user avatar
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0 answers
156 views

Farallon plate subducting under North American plate: is it a factor in "the next big one"?

I am a writer, not a scientist of any kind. I live in the SW AZ desert (USA), so we get earthquakes from time to time. I grew up in southern CA, right next to the San Andreas fault, so I have a ...
EdNerd's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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How many supercontinents have there been? [duplicate]

With plate tectonics, supercontinents split up into smaller continents, and then the smaller continents get mashed up together to form a new supercontinent. There used to be a single supercontinent ...
usernumber's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
57 views

How on "Earth" can you make all those measurements of Earth forming?

This question is a result of recent news that Earth had a "boring billion" years in which mountains ceased to grow, and subsequently hindered life evolution. The article went on to give ...
BeemerGuy's user avatar
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