Factors that Influence the Movement of Plate Tectonics

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In this paper I will be presenting research that I have conducted over the topic of plate tectonics and landforms on earth surfaces and I will briefly discuss the factors that influence the movement of change on earth. To begin with; the internal earth processes and landform systems of the world. The earth surface is the basic platform of most things in life and as well for all human activities and many of us fail to realize the phenomenal things that are beneath us. Scientists base earth into two categories; rheological or chemically. Rheological is speaking upon the liquid state of rocks under an extreme temperature or pressure. Then there is the chemical category in where we lump the layers of earth into inner core, outer core, mantle, or crust. The internal structure of the Earth has a total of seven layers which included the following; lithosphere, asthenosphere, mesosphere, outer core, and lastly the inner core. However, each different layer in the earth has a purpose and has its own composition, properties, and lastly characteristics that take a role in how the earth functions. Our understandings of the study of earth come conducted research from scientists and with the help of different technology systems as an example; the seismic monitoring system, their objective is the detect and locate underground the nuclear explosions that occur. This system helps in distinguishing a natural manmade seismic event or a nuclear explosion event. Due to our newer technology we have in today’s date scientists who study physical geography are now capable of studying what lies underneath us many feet down and in specific detail they are able to now discover significant understandings of earth.

Now that I have discussed the different type of layer of earth internally, I will now discuss the variation types of landforms earth has. Earth has four major types of landforms; plains, plateaus, hills, and lastly mountains. Then there are minor landforms; basins, valleys, canyons, and buttes. Landforms are classified by their distinguished characteristics that they have as an example; soil type, slope, rock exposure, or even by their orientation. Earth differs from other planets for one main reason and it is because of the amount of water there is present. Water on earth can be in three different types of forms; solid, liquid or gas and those three different types of forms play a big factor in earth biologically or geologically. The reason for is because liquid has the power to cause major changes to earth surfaces by weathering and the erosion of rocks. Water can also help grow many things such as plants or tress and as well as it can also change the shaping of lakes or rivers. Concluding that water has the power to enhance the reshaping of many things on earth as well as it is capable of enhancing erosion on earth surface. Ice on earth can be very powerful as well by its force or erosion and transportation it has in the form of glaciers. A formation or movement of a glacier can easily go pass a mountain. The contributions of erosion, sediment erosions, or glacier and much more are factors of landforms being created. One of the highest orders classified landforms are continents and oceans. Typically factors such as depositions, erosion, or movement of plate tectonics can create an effect on landforms.

In most cases landforms can be studied and examined by the digital elevation model known as (DEM) it is a system consisting of 3D computer graphics that are able to identify a good enough accurate representation of geometric data from landforms. This system is very useful when it comes down to landscaping modeling, visualization of applications, and mostly importantly the start of city modeling. Many factors play a very important role for the quality of DEM system products; terrain roughness, vertical resolution, or even the terrain analysis algorithms, Then there is the Digital Terrain Model known as (DTM) it is used to view a representation of the terrain surfaces; asteroids, planet surfaces or the moons surfaces. DTM is very helpful when it comes to geological applications, drainage modeling like when we get floods in cities or even just by the simple use of land use studies.

Plate tectonics in earth is the main study in between geology and geophysics, it holds a very important factor in the creation of earth as well as its steady movement. The purpose of plate tectonics on the surface of earth is the power of tectonics by subduction in where the lithosphere is split into a mosaic of plates that are then able to move and sink into less powerful ductile asthenosphere. There are three major types of plate boundaries; two plates sliding past each other creating faults, new oceanic plates which is created by seafloor spreading at the movement of midocean ridges, and then old oceanic lithosphere in where it takes place in subduction zones. There are nine major plates on earth; Antarctic, south American, Indian, Australian, Indo-Australian, African, Eurasian, Pacific, and North America. The forces behind movement of plate tectonics are convections in the mantle, which consists of very hot material surroundings the earth’s core rises. The convection in between this pulls through the plate tectonics with a combination of pushing and spreading apart at mid ocean ridges and with the movement of pushing and pulling downwards at the subduction zones. Mid ocean ridges are unfilled placed inn between tectonic plates that mantle the earth. There is hot magma which is a melted rock that is under surface area that hold an extreme temperature of hotness, the hot magma fills up at ridges creating new ocean crust and moving the plates from each other to split. In subduction zones there are two tectonic plates that meet up and one slides beneath the other back into the mantles which is the layer under the earth crust.

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The Pangea theory is a concept that explains how continents once had formed a contiguous land mass that was purposed by Alfred Wegner who was a German meteorologist and geophysicist. This concept had been originally purposed in 1912 it was party of Wegner theory of continental drift. The name Pangea was uniquely used due to its meaning in Greek. Its definition was “all the Earth” is at constant movement. The Pangea theory had made a mark in the breaking up and drifting in locations in all earth surfaces, Wegner had purposed that all the continents on earth had formed a single supercontinent that he had named the “Urkoninent”. The creation of the supercontinents and their separations had appeared the cyclical in Earth’s history. The Ring of Fire on earth is referred to as the circum-pacific belt which is a pathway among the Pacific Ocean that is distinguished by earthquakes and active volcanoes. The large quantity of earthquakes and volcanoes among the Ring of Fire is caused by the total amount of movement of the tectonic plates in that specific area. The Ring of Fire is estimated of a length of 40,000 kilometers which is converted into 24,900 miles it traces the boundaries of several tectonic plates such as the North American and Pacific. There has been research released in where it has been proven that there is about 75 percent of Earths volcanoes that occur around the radius of the Ring of Fire. And a percentage of 90 of earths earthquakes happen along the pathway of the Ring of Fire. Not to mention that earths most intense seismic events occur around here as well.

There is three classification of rocks I will be discussing; sedimentary, metamorphic, igneous. Rocks and minerals on earth surfaces are very important as well as they are important on other planet surfaces as well. Igneous rocks are formed when magma cools down from its intense hot temperature and it hardens. Basalt and Obsidian are examples to igneous rocks. Metamorphic rocks are created under the surface of the earth from the metamorphosis change that happens due to the cause of the intense pressure and heat merging, examples of metamorphic rocks are gnesiss and marble. Lastly there is sedimentary rocks which are created by the sand pebbles and shell particles, examples of sedimentary rocks are conglomerate and limestone. The minerals and rocks here on earth help scientists or physical geographers develop new technologies that lead us to discover for about earth studies. The materials that minerals and rocks have can help with the process of many things that we use on a daily which are building materials, roads, manufacturing substances, construction, or even in appliances such as kitchen countertops. They overall have such a broad range of use in our earth overall which makes them very important to the human life in general. San Andreas fault line is defined as a continental transform fault line among an estimates 1,200 kilometers which is converted to 750 miles through the state of California. It was discovered in the year of 1895 by a professor named Andrew Lawson from the University of California Berkeley. Lawson had concluded that this fault and an extended radius into the southern of California. Its purpose is to form tectonic boundary in between the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate, and its movement is horizontal from these two plates. This fault is divided into three main segments and each segment hold its own differences including its different degree risk of earthquakes.

The Himalaya mountain range is located in Asia and its separates the plains of the Tibetan Plateau and the Indian Subcontinent. This range as the earth’s highest peaks; Mountain Everest. The Himalayas overall have over fifty mountains that have more than 23,600 feet in elevation. These mountains are estimates with a radius that runs through the west northwest to the east southeast reaching almost 1,500 miles long. And its bordered on the northwest close by the Hindu and Karakoram ranges. Overall the Himalayas are occupied with an estimate of 52.7 million people within the 5 countries of Pakistan, Nepal, India, China, and Bhutan. In geology terms the Himalayan Range is one of the youngest mountain ranges on earth that is made out of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Studies and research prove that the creation of the Himalayas was create by a theory of plate tectonics that formed a continental collision among the convergent boundaries in between the Eurasian and Indo Australian plate. In today’s date the Indian plate continues to be directed towards a horizontal movement towards the Tibetan Plateau, and that causes the forces of the Tibetan to move towards the direction of upwards. And lastly it is studied that the Indian plate is moving at a speed of 67 mm average per year.

The Hot Spot Theory was purposed in the year 1963 by John T. Wilson that idea purposed in this theory stated that a single mantle plume creates volcanoes that can split off from their source by the movement of the Pacific Plate. This leads the plate to become inactive and erode under the sea level for thousands of years. Wilson theory research shows that nearly 60 degrees curve into the Hawaiian and emperor segments of the chain meet were caused by a sudden shift in the movement of the Pacific Plate. However, the Hawaii hotspot is estimated to be 1,988 miles from the closest plate boundary. Wilson proposed that mantle convection makes a very little amount of hot buoyant upwellings under the surfaces of Earth. Leading to his thinking of mantle plumes create magma that later turns into long lasting volcanic activity. In conclusion throughout the research I have carefully examined and analyzed different variations of earth surfaces have led me to discover more of the evolution there is with physical geographically features that stretched from glaciers to active volcanic eruptions. These different insights have been very helpful in gaining better knowledge of the study of physical geography.

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