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continental drift

the gradual movement and formation of continents (as described by plate tectonics)

plate tectonics

the theory that the Earth's lithosphere is divided into tectonic plates that move around on top of the asthenosphere

divergent boundaries

places where two plates pull apart

convergent boundaries

when two tectonic plates push into one another

transform boundaries

a place where two plates slip past each other moving in opposite directions


THe process of thrusting oceanic lithosphere into the mantle along a convergent boundary

hot spot

a concentration of heat in the mantle capable of producing magma, which rises to Earth's surface; The Pacific Plate moves over a hot spot, producing the Hawaiian Islands

mantle plume

A buoyant mass of hot rock rising through Earth's mantle. As it nears the surface of Earth, some of the plume melts and erupts at the surface forming a "hot spot."

curie point

The temperature above which a material loses its magnetization.

volcanic island arc

a chain of volcanic islands generally located a few hundred kilometers from a trench where there is active subduction of one oceanic plate beneath another

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