How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

28 terms

Science Key Terms For Plate Tectonics

STUDY
PLAY
Geologist
a scientist who studies the forces that make and shape planet earth
Rock
a lump or mass of hard consolidated mineral matter
Geology
The scientific study of the origin, history, and structure of the earth.
Constructive Force
a force that builds up mountains and landmasses on Earth's surface
Destructive Force
a force that slowly wears away mountains and other features on the surface of Earth
Continent
one of the large landmasses of the earth
Seismic Wave
A vibration that travels through earth carrying the energy released during an earthquake
Pressure
the force applied to a unit area of surface
Crust
the outer layer of the Earth
Basalt
A dark, dense, igneous rock with a fine texture, found in oceanic crust.
Granite
A usually light colored igneous rock that is found in continental crust
Mantle
the layer of the earth between the crust and the core
Lithosphere
the solid, outer layer of the earth that consists of the crust and the rigid upper part of the mantle
Asthenosphere
The solid, plastic layer of the mantle beneath the lithosphere; made of mantle rock that flows very slowly, which allows tectonic plates to move on top of it
Outer Core
the liquid layer of the Earth's core that lies beneath the Mantle and surrounds the inner Core
Inner Core
a dense sphere of solid iron and nickel at the center of Earth
Mid-Ocean Ridge
An undersea mountain chain where new ocean floor is produced; a divergent plate boundary.
Sonar
a measuring instrument that sends out an acoustic pulse in water and measures distances in terms of the time for the echo of the pulse to return
Sea- Floor Spreading
when two oceanic plates pull apart, magma rises and new crust is formed
Deep-Ocean Trench
a deep valley along the ocean floor beneath which oceanic crust slowly sinks toward the mantle
Subduction
the process by which oceanic crust sinks beneath a deep-ocean trench and back into the mantle at a convergent plate boundary
Plate
a rigid layer of the Earth's crust that is believed to drift slowly
Scientific Theory
A well tested explanation for a wide range of observations or experimental results
Plate Tectonics
the theory that pieces of Earth's lithosphere are in constant motion, driven by convection currents in the mantle
Transform Boundary
the boundary between tectonic plates that are sliding past each other horizontally
Divergent Boundary
the boundary between two tectonic plates that are moving away from each other
Convergent Boundary
A tectonic plate boundary where two plates collide, come together, or crash into each other.
Continental Drift
the hypothesis that states that the continents once formed a single landmass, broke up, and drifted to their present locations