Tectonic Plates

The Earth's crust is made up of huge pieces called plates, which fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  

Sometimes these plates move and cause things to happen on the surface of the earth such as Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Tsunamis.

The theory that explains this process is called plate tectonics.


Convection currents

Convection currents occur when there are differences in temperature between two parts of a fluid. When this happens, hot fluids rise and cold fluids sink. This causes movements or currents in the fluid.

This is what happens in Earth´s mantle, hot magma rises and cold rocks sink, creating convection currents and making the tectonic plates move.


Tectonic plates movement

The movement of tectonic plates is most evident at the boundaries between the plates.

There are three main types of boundaries:

1.- Convergent Boundaries - A convergent boundary is where two tectonic plates push together. Sometimes one plate will move under the other. This is called subduction

Although the movement is slow, convergent boundaries can be areas of geological activity such as the forming of mountains and volcanoes. They can also be areas of high earthquake activity.

    2.- Divergent Boundaries - A divergent boundary is one where two plates are getting pushed apart. The area on land where the boundary occurs is called a rift. 

    New land is formed by magma pushing up from the mantle and cooling as it reaches the surface

3.- Transform Boundaries - A transform boundary is one where two plates slide past each other. These places are often called faults and can be areas where earthquakes often occur.


The Ring of Fire