KARSTEN SCHNEIDER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KARSTEN SCHNEIDER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Global tectonics, mid-Atlantic Ridge. Satellite-based model of an Earth globe showing the southern parts of the mid-Atlantic Ridge. This boundary (yellow line) separates the North American and South American plates at left from the Eurasian and African plates at right. Seven primary tectonic plates make up the Earth's crust. Phenomena observed at the plate boundaries include earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation. The movement of the tectonic plates over the millions of years of geologic time drives the creation, destruction and drifting of the continents. The movement of the tectonic plates is thought to be driven by convection currents in the underlying mantle.
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