Earth  ID: 2953

Tectonic Plates and Plate Boundaries (WMS)

The Earth's crust is constantly in motion. Sections of the crust, called plates, push against each other due to forces from the molten interior of the Earth. The areas where these plates collide often have increased volcanic and earthquake activity. These images show the locations of the plates and their boundaries in the Earth's crust. Convergent boundaries are areas where two plates are pushing against each other and one plate may be subducting under another. Divergent boundaries have two plates pulling away from each other and indicate regions where new land could be created. Transform boundaries are places where two plates are sliding against each other in opposite directions, and diffuse boundaries are places where two plates have the same relative motion. Numerous small microplates have been omitted from the plate image. These images have been derived from images made available by the United States Geological Survey's Earthquake Hazards Program.

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Visualization Credits

Eric Sokolowsky (GST): Lead Animator
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Airborne Topographic Mapper
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of this series:

SVS >> Continental Drift
DLESE >> Geology
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Solid Earth >> Tectonics >> Plate Boundaries
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Solid Earth >> Tectonics >> Plate Tectonics
SVS >> For Educators
SVS >> Mantle Circulation
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version