GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARY HINCKS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tectonic plate boundaries. Cutaway artwork of creative (far left) and destructive (centre) tectonic plate boundaries. The tectonic plates of the Earth's crust (grey) move on the semi-plastic, molten layers (black/red/yellow) underneath. The thin oceanic plates spread outward from mid-ocean ridges (left) where molten rock oozes from within the Earth. They are destroyed at subduction zones (centre), where the dense rock is pushed under the less-dense (but thicker) continental rocks. At the subduction zone, melted oceanic plate and seawater rise upwards to form volcanoes. Isolated hotspots and crustal faults can produce other volcanoes on land and at sea (two seen here).
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