Plate tectonics. The Earth s magnet Normal polarity. The Earth s magnet Reverse polarity. Internal processes: Reading: This week: Ch 3 Next week: Ch 4

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1 Internal processes: Plate tectonics The Earth s magnet Normal polarity Magnetic azimuth the compass needle points north Reading: This week: Ch 3 Next week: Ch 4 Magnetic dip at equator: 0 (horizontal) at pole: 90 deg (vertical) tells us about the latitude when the rooks cooled The Earth s magnet Reverse polarity Magnetic azimuth the compass needle points south Reconstructing plate motion The magnetic tape recorder: Given the oceanic record we can wind back the plates to see how the plates have been moving. This shows us how Pangaea broke up. Magnetic dip at equator: 0 (horizontal) at pole: 90 deg (vertical) tells us about the latitude when the rooks cooled 1

2 Continental magnetization Plate motion further back in time The formation of Pangaea When we add the continental plate motion recoded we can extend plate reconstruction back beyond 200Ma i.e. prior to the break-up of Pangaea QUESTION Earth s interior: Properties of geological materials How can plates move across the Earth s surface? The Earth is not a rigid solid, but a plastic solid. 2

3 Earth s interior: Properties of geological materials How can plates move across the Earth s surface? The Earth is not a rigid solid, but a plastic solid. Earth s interior: An overview Plastic deformation: Ductile flow Brittle failure: Rupture Categories of plate boundaries Categories of plate boundaries Divergent Established mid-ocean ridge New rift zone, new ocean Transform Along mid-ocean ridges Across continents Convergent Ocean continent Ocean ocean Continent continent Divergent Established mid-ocean ridge New rift zone, new ocean Transform Along mid-ocean ridges Across continents Convergent Ocean continent Ocean ocean Continent continent Mid-Atlantic Ridge East African Rift Fracture Zones e.g. south Pacific San Andreas Fault Off west coast of South America Japan Trench, western Pacific Himalaya 3

4 Divergent boundaries: Mid-Atlantic Ridge Divergent boundaries: Mid-ocean ridge resources Black smokers produce rich mineral deposits at 2.5 km depth Divergent boundaries: The East African Rift and Red Sea Divergent plate boundaries: The Red Sea 4

5 Divergent plate boundaries: Oil at the continental margin Transform plate boundaries: Ocean transforms Ocean bathymetry map The continental rifting process provides the right environment for oil formation within continental margin sediments Mid-ocean ridges are offset by ocean transforms: Fracture Zones Transform plate boundaries: Ocean transforms Transform plate boundary: San Andreas Fault 5

6 Transform plate boundary: San Andreas Fault Convergent plate boundaries: Different types Convergent plate boundaries: South America Convergent plate boundaries: Different types 6

7 Convergent plate boundaries: India and Asia the Himalaya QUESTION The Ring of Fire Refers to the concentration of earthquakes and volcanoes around the Pacific rim. Determining plate velocities Hotspot tracks Strings of volcanic ocean islands recording the motion of the plate 1. Magnetic stripes on the ocean floor 2. Hotspot tracks record plate motion Hawaiian chain The formation process 7

8 Global hotspot tracks Plate velocities The unifying theory A unifying theory: Recognizes that rigid plates are moving across the Earth s surface. A single theory that explains a large body of evidence. Other examples: Physics theory of relativity Chemistry nature of a chemical bond Astrophysics the Big Bang Biology DNA Geology plate tectonics 8

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