Geography

Tectonic plates


Tectonic plates are the huge blocks that form the outer solid layer of our planet, supporting the continents and oceans.

These plates are driven by the movement of the incandescent magma within the earth.


Illustration of the blocks that form the outer solid layer of our planet.

Subduction zones or converging boundaries

The lithosphere (layer of the earth that makes up its solid surface) is made up of semi-rigid plates that derive from each other over the asthenosphere underlying (a partially fused layer on the mantle).

This process is known as Plate Tectonics. When two plates separate, they form the rifts (cracks) in the crust.


Lithosphere


Rift / Rifte

In the middle of the oceans, this movement results in the expansion of the ocean floor and the formation of ocean chains on the continents.


Trinidad Island - Volcanic Island located in the Victoria Chain - Trinidad is 1,167 kilometers from Victoria (ES) and 2,400 kilometers from Africa

When the plates move toward each other, subduction may occur. Subduction zones are those where tectonic plates converge and collide. One always dives beneath the other and returns to the asthenosphere.


Ocean Plate Subduction

Plate movement

There are plates that carry continents and others that are submerged making up part of the ocean floors. These plates move, sliding over the pasty cloak. The direction of travel is conditioned by the convention currents of the magma.

The plates have a particularity in their size: the higher the continental block, the larger its underground root. The name given to this property is balance isostatic.

This movement of the tectonic plates slowly transforms the contour of the terrestrial relief, elevating mountain ranges and opening sea chasms. Another consequence of this phenomenon (caused by the encounter of the plates) are earthquakes and tsunamis (gigantic waves).


Earthquake-generated tsunami hitting Japanese city Naoto Kan in 2011