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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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How much heat is transported from the interior to the surface in the form of hydration enthalpy?

Heat is transferred from the interior to the surface through several methods. One is simply the conduction of sensible heat through the crust - I would guess this accounts for most of it. But some is ...
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How much heat flow is needed to maintain plate tectonics?

The Earth is emitting about 47 terawatts of heat energy, producing a heat flow of 0.0921 W/m$^2$ due to radiogenic and primordial heat energy. The heat flow drives mantle convection which in turn ...
Anders Sandberg'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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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
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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-...
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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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Is there a correlation between the underwater geological activity and topology of the mid Atlantic ridge/ South American plate and the Gulf Stream?

I just had a little eureka moment! I was looking again at this mid atlantic ridge along the western edge of the Eurasian plate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_volcanoes How it and the way it ...
Grapple Hoeker's user avatar
5 votes
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On which software can I simulate landmass collisions?

Such as in 3D simulations of vehicule crashes but this time with huge rocks or bodies of water (continental plates). I need to be able to set the properties of the material (density, size etc) and see ...
WaterBearer's user avatar
4 votes
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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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How long for tectonic plates to develop from a planetary, molten planetary surface?

On Earth or an Earth-like planet, how long does it take for a molten surface to solidify into planetary crust, and how long does it take for that crust to develop into tectonic plates?
Wax's user avatar
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Cratonization - how did the Archean cratons form?

Before the onset of modern style plate tectonics and the Wilson cycles in the late Archean, it is thought that smaller units of continental crust, called cratons, roamed the oceanic crust over a more ...
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The formation of West Mata

I was wondering if anyone knows how the formation of the West Mata volcano came to be? I was reading that a lot of underwater volcanoes were formed by convergent boundary. Is this how West Mata was ...
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For slab rollback, what allows the subducting plate to begin descending at a steeper incline?

I recently learned about slab rollback, specifically of the Juan de Fuca plate subducting underneath the North American plate. From what I understand, the subducting plate over time begins descending ...
Kristina L's user avatar
3 votes
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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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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
3 votes
2 answers
130 views

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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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
3 votes
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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
3 votes
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66 views

Is it possible for Mexico to have a magnitude 9 earthquake?

Everyone has heard of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the potential threat it poses. However, I have heard nothing about The Cocos Subduction Zone, even though it caused a devastating earthquake over ...
VelvetChimaera's user avatar
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Where and how big was Sicily between 5 and 1 Ma ago?

Sicily is a geologically complex island which seems to have been extensively studied geologically and from a tectonically point of view. There are an overwhelming number of papers dealing with the ...
EduardoM's user avatar
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Why do ophiolites obduce upon Continental Crust?

Oceanic Crust is more dense than continental one. The margin between both types of materials can be passive or develop a subduction zone, where Oceanic Crust sinks under continental one. I know there ...
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Can the process of subduction flatten the shape of a subducting plate relative to the plate it's going under?

There's something I’m still not quite getting about why island arcs are arcs. In the examples I’ve seen, the subducting plate is compared to a knife slicing across the surface of an orange - but it ...
KernelOfChaos's user avatar
2 votes
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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
2 votes
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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
2 votes
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79 views

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
2 votes
1 answer
102 views

Amount of Distortion at Continental Collisions

Something that I've wondered for a while now - When continents collide, how much of the landmass gets distorted by the collision before it settles? To perhaps give a clearer idea of what I'm talking ...
N Francis'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 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
1 vote
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24 views

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
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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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Nickel question - non geologist me

Why are there no giant nickel porphyry deposits like those of copper, or SEDEX deposits, like those of zinc? Why is all the nickel found in direct magmatic intrusions from the mantle to the surface? ...
hurreechunder's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
48 views

Minimum Surface Water for Plate Tectonics?

There is good evidence that the presence of water on a planet's surface is necessary for that planet to have plate tectonics. My question is this: Do we know if there is a minimum amount of surface ...
Arkenstein XII's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
100 views

Why does the lithosphere thickness vary within a short distance?

Can someone explain why the lithosphere thickness varies within a short distance (30-100km) at the same upper mantle viscosity around the polar region? And what is the behaviour of a thin (20-70km) ...
Nahid's user avatar
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Effects of Mexican Earthquake in San Andreas Fault Line

Could the recent 8.1 Magnitude Earthquake at the Cocos and Nazca plates off the Mexican coast have a knock on effect to the Pacific and Juan de Fuca Plates further north at the San Andreas Fault Line?
Meteodeep's user avatar