Continental Drift-Plate Tectonics continents had once been together. Chapter 2: The Earth s Mobile Crust. Alfred Wegener 1920 s

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1 Chapter 2: The Earth s Mobile Crust Plate Tectonics The Earth s interior Plate Boundaries Continental Margins Tectonic Classification of Coasts Tectonic effects on coastal sediment supply Continental Drift-Plate Tectonics continents had once been together Alfred Wegener 1920 s Rejected (gravity Earth, Moon, Sun) Continental Drift-Plate Tectonics New evidence Sea floor mapping Magnetic anomalies Earthquake distribution Heat flow Radiometric dating Satellites Theory of Mantle Convection (Hess, 1960s) Shallow epicenters- Crustal movement Mid-deep epicenters subduction Seismic refraction = change in speed of P & S waves Factors Chemistry Density Physical State (liquid or solid) 1

2 Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth Big Bang, 13 bya Formation of elementary particles Gravitational formation of dense regions 12 bya first stars 4.55 bya Rotating cloud of gas from which sun and planets formed, initiated by supernova = exploding star Accretion (Gaining material) Differentiation (Separating based on density) Evidence of rocks and water- 3.9 bya Inner core: r=1222km, primarily Fe & Ni T= C Outer core: 2258km thick, 3200C, liquid (partially melted) Mantle: 70% Earth s volume, 2866m thick, C, Mg-Fe silicates, solid but can flow Mohorovicic discontinuity: chemical boundary between Mantle and Crust Continental Crust: Primarily granitic type rock (Na, K, Al, SiO 2 ) 40km thick on average Relatively light Oceanic Crust Primarily basaltic (Fe, Mg, Ca, low SiO 2 ) 7km thick Relatively dense (Physical Properties) Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates Lithosphere: 100km thick Rigid slab (plate) Asthenosphere 350km thick Partially melted (P,T,H 2 O) Mesosphere Extends to mantle-core boundary Pressure=compact mineralogy, mechanically strong 2

3 Direction of Plate Movement Divergent Types of Plate Boundaries Convergent Rates: average 5cm/year Mid-Atlantic Ridge = cm/yr East-Pacific Rise = cm/yr Transform Modern divergence East African Rift System East African Rift System Mid Atlantic Ridge Mid Atlantic Ridge South Indian Ridge 3

4 Convergent Plate Boundaries Continent Ocean Convergent Plate Boundaries Ocean-Ocean Aleutian Islands, Alaska Ocean Ocean Continent Continent Ocean Ocean Caribbean Islands Continent Ocean West Coast of South America Continent Ocean Fracture Zones-Transform faults Mount St. Helens 4

5 Model of Mantle Convection (Hess, 1960 s) Improved Mapping, WWII radioactive decay, magma coming from the mantle or core-mantle boundary, gravitational sliding, slab pull Continental Margins Continental Shelves: broad shallow extension of the continents (~75km wide) Regions of deposition (rivers, glaciers, scrapped marine deposits, calcium carbonate) Large bedform features, reworked by tides, storms, waves Continental Slopes: continental crust thins into oceanic crust steep (~20km, 1-25 degrees), 5deg Pacific, 3deg Atlantic extend to depths between m Continental Rise: Fan like deposit where the continental slope intersects the abyssal plains Formed by turbidity currents 5

6 Tectonic Evolution of Continental Margins Tectonic Coastline Classification (Inman & Nordstrom) Tectonic Setting (Pacific-vs-Atlantic type margin) Tectonic Setting of opposite side of the continent Geologic Age of the coast Exposure to open ocean conditions Atlantic Margin: passive margin, edge of the continent is in the middle of a lithospheric plate, little seismic activity, no volcanism Pacific Margin: active margin, edge of the continent coincides with a plate boundary, rim of the Pacific Ocean, ring of fire, seismic activity and volcanism 1. Collision Coasts Continental collision coasts Island arc collision coasts 2. Trailing Edge Coasts Neo-trailing edge coasts Afro-trailing edge coasts Amero-trailing edgo coasts 3. Marginal Sea Coasts Continental collision coasts continental oceanic plate boundary narrow margin, deep trench seismic activity, coast backed by high mountains Island Arc collision coasts oceanic oceanic plate boundary narrow margin, deep trench moderate mountain ranges Ex Japan, Philippines, Aleutian Islands Neo-Trailing Edge Coasts Atlantic type margins geologically young Ex Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of California Afro-Trailing Edge Coasts both sides of the continent are passive margins lack organized drainage pattern Ex Africa, Greenland 6

7 Amero-Trailing Edge Coasts opposite side of the continent is an active margin organized drainage pattern Ex Atlantic coast of N&S America and Europe, India Marginal Sea Coasts direct exposure to the ocean is reduced due to island arc system Ex Gulf of Mexico, Bearing Sea, Sea of Japan, East and South China Seas Classification Based on Tidal Range Classification Based on Wave Energy correlation of morphology based on energy regime H s 2 T 2 Hs T = significant wave height = significant wave period H 2 s T = mildly exposed coast H 2 s T = moderately exposed coast H 2 s T 2 > 300 = highly exposed coast Microtidal: Mesotidal: Macrotidal: < 2 m 2 4 m > 2 m Walton and Adams, 1978 Hydrodynamic Coastline Classification Tide Dominated Wave Dominated Shinnecock Inlet Amero-Trailing Edge Coast South Shore Significant Wave Conditions: H ~= 1.5 m, T = 8 sec Micro-Tidal Environments Tide Dominated & Riverine Long Island Classification Gravel, sand Tide Dominated Cliff or Bluff Coast Mixed Energy 2 m Gravel Wave Dominated Sand Barrier Island Mixed Energy (Hayes, 1975) 7

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