Introduction to Plate Tectonics

Learning Objectives

This chapter has several goals and objectives:

  • Compare and describe each of these Earth layers: lithosphere, oceanic crust, and continental crust.
  • Describe how convection takes place in the mantle and compare the two parts of the core and describe why they are different from each other.
  • Explain the concepts of the following hypothesis: continental drift hypothesis, seafloor spreading hypothesis, and the theory of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the three types of tectonic plate and how the processes lead to changes in Earth’s surface features.

Essential Questions

  • What is the driving force of plate tectonics and how does this impact earthquakes and volcanoes around the world?
  • How does the theory of plate tectonics help explain the different types of earthquakes and volcanoes around the planet?