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Earth Science Chapter 10

Earth Science Chapter 10 Definitions Sources: Holt Earth Science textbook
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Theory of Continental Drift
The theory hypothesized by scientist Alfred Wegener stating that "the continents once formed part of a single supercontinent that began breaking up into smaller continents about 200 million years ago (during the Mesozoic Era)
Mid-Ocean Ridges
Undersea mountain ranges through the center of which run steep, narrow valleys
Sea-floor spreading
The process by which new ocean lithosphere(sea floor) forms as magma and rises to Earth's surface and solidifies at a mid-ocean ridge
Paleomagnetism
The study of the magnetic properties inside rocks
Rift
a crack
Magma
Lava from within Earth
Theory of Plate Tectonics
The theory that explains why and how continents move and is the study of the formation of features in Earth's crust
Divergent boundary
The process in which two tectonic plates move away from each other
Convergent boundary
The process in which two tectonic plates move towards each other/collide with each other
Transform boundary
The process in which two tectonic plates slide towards each other horizontally
Fracture zones
Short segments of mid-ocean ridge are connected with these
Convection
The movement of heated material due to differences in density that are created by differences in temperatures
Convection cell
An area created when cooler, denser water sinks and the warmer water rises to the surface
Ridge push
A force exerted by the asthenosphere when it pushes on the rest of the plate
Slab pull
A force exerted when the lithosphere becomes dense and subducts into the asthenosphere. The edge pulls the rest of the plate with it.
Cratons
Large areas of stable rock
Shields
Rocks within cratons
Rifting
The process by which a continent breaks apart
Terrane
A piece of lithosphere that has a unique geologic history that differs from the histories of surrounding lithosphere
Accretion
The process in which a terrane becomes part of a continent
Sea-mounts
Small volcanic islands sometimes formed from terranes
Atolls
Small coral islands that may form terranes
Supercontinent cycle
The process by which supercontinents form and break apart over time
Pangaea
The supercontinent that existed about 300 million years ago (during the Paleozoic Era)
Panthalassa
The giant ocean that surrounded Pangaea