KARSTEN SCHNEIDER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KARSTEN SCHNEIDER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Global tectonics, western Pacific Plate. Satellite-based model of an Earth globe showing the tectonic boundaries (yellow lines) in the western Pacific Ocean. 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 particularly active Pacific Plate boundary forms the 'Ring of Fire'. At left are the Philippines Plate, the Australian Plate and parts of the Eurasian Plate. 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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