The Earth’s outer shell, the lithosphere, consist of of the crust and uppermost mantle, is split into a patchwork of large tectonic bowl that relocate slowly relatively to every other. There are 7-8 significant plates and many young plates. Varying between 0 come 100mm every year, the activity of a key is pushed by convection in the basic hot and also viscous mantle.

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Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and also oceanic trench formation occur follow me plate boundaries in area that may be anything indigenous a few kilometres to a couple of hundred kilometre wide. To clock a simulated fly-by along brand-new Zealand"s key boundary check out this video.


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There space three main types of key boundaries:

1. Convergent boundaries: where two plates space colliding.

Subduction zones occur when one or both that the tectonic plates are composed that oceanic crust. The denser bowl is subducted underneath the less thick plate. The key being forced under is ultimately melted and also destroyed.

i. Wherein oceanic crust meets s crustIsland arcs and also oceanic trenches happen when both the the plates are made the oceanic crust. Zones of active seafloor spreading can likewise occur behind the island arc, known as back-arc basins. These space often linked with submarine volcanoes.

ii. Whereby oceanic tardy meets continent crustThe denser oceanic plate is subducted, often developing a mountain selection on the continent. The Andes is an example of this form of collision.

iii. Where continental crust meets continental crustBoth continental crusts room too light to subduct for this reason a continent-continent collision occurs, producing especially large mountain ranges. The many spectacular instance of this is the Himalayas.

2. Divergent boundaries – where two plates are moving apart.

The room created can likewise fill with brand-new crustal product sourced from molten magma that forms below. Divergent boundaries can kind within continents but will ultimately open up and also become s basins.

i. ~ above landDivergent borders within continents initially produce rifts, which create rift valleys.

ii. Under the seaThe most energetic divergent plate limits are between oceanic plates and also are often dubbed mid-oceanic ridges.

3. Transform boundaries – wherein plates slide passed every other.

The relative movement of the key is horizontal. They can take place underwater or ~ above land, and crust is neither destroyed nor created.

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Because that friction, the plates cannot merely glide previous each other. Rather, anxiety builds up in both plates and also when that exceeds the threshold that the rocks, the energy is exit – bring about earthquakes.