Putting It Together: Plate Tectonics

As you have seen, this section is absolutely essential to understanding how the Earth works, why it looks the way it does, what processes have shaped and continue to shape the Earth, and the impact it has on us today. Everything from various geologic hazards such as volcanoes, landslides, and earthquakes can be explained—at least in part—by plate tectonics. You should now be able to look back at the questions asked at the beginning of this section and understand how plate tectonics has contributed to our understanding. In fact, it is very difficult to think of an area or topic in geology that has not been influenced by plate tectonics.

Plate Tectonics will be the base that the rest of the course is built on. This theory has impacts on each of the following:

  • rock formations, geologic environments, mineral resources
  • landforms, mountain building processes
  • folds, faults, and earthquakes
  • volcanoes and their eruptions


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