Plate tectonics

Plate tectonics

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Credit: GARY HINCKS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Plate tectonics. Artwork showing the processes of plate tectonics around an ocean basin. The Earth's crust is made up of tectonic plates that move on top of molten rock (red/yellow). Continental rock (light brown) rides on top of heavier rocks (pink) that also make up the ocean basins. New ocean rock is formed at mid-ocean ridges (centre, red arrow). This leads to sea-floor spreading (yellow arrows) and the drifting apart of the continents. At right is an active continental margin, with a subduction zone where oceanic rock is being pushed under the continental plate and destroyed, forming volcanoes along the margin (lower right). Mountains form along margins, and a hotspot has created volcanic islands (upper left) on the oceanic plate.

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Keywords: active, aethenosphere, artwork, basalt, coast, coastal, continent, continental margin, continental plate, continental shelf, crust, crustal, diagram, earth science, geological, geology, hotspot, illustration, lithosphere, mantle, mantle plume, margins, mid-ocean ridge, mountain range, mountains, ocean, ocean basin, oceanic plate, passive, physical geography, plate tectonics, sea, sea floor, sea-floor spreading, seabed, tectonic, tectonic plate, volcano, volcanology, vulcanology

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