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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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? ...
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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 ...
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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) ...
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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?
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