"The surface of the Earth is broken up into large plates. It’s easy to confuse these plates with the Earth’s crust – the thin outermost layer of the Earth. But there is more to the structure of the Earth than this simple image of a ‘cracked egg-shell’.
The Earth’s layers can be defined in two different ways – based on the chemical composition or the mechanical properties of the rock. To understand what plates are, it is important to understand both of ..."
The supercontinent Pangaea, with its connected South America and Africa, broke apart 200 million years ago. But the continents haven't stopped shifting -- the tectonic plates beneath our feet (in Earth's two top layers, the lithosphere and the asthenosphere) are still traveling at about the rate your fingernails grow. Michael Molina discusses the catalysts and consequences of continental drift.
Adapted from Jules Verne's classic novel, Around the World in 80 Days, Inkle's latest interactive adventure will put you in the role of long-suffering servant Jean Passepartout, plotting a route to circumnavigate the globe as fast as possible, avoiding misfortunes, pirates and policeman along the way. Release date : July 31st.
If you've ever wondered where — and why — earthquakes happen the most, look no further than a new map, which plots more than a century's worth of nearly every recorded earthquake strong enough to at least rattle the bookshelves.
The map shows earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater since 1898; each is marked in a lightning-bug hue that glows brighter with increasing magnitude.
The overall effect is both beautiful and arresting, revealing the silhouettes of Earth's tectonic boundaries in stark, luminous swarms of color.
The map's maker, John Nelson, the user experience and mapping manager for IDV Solutions, a data visualization company, said the project offered several surprises.
"First, I was surprised by the sheer amount of earthquakes that have been recorded," Nelson told OurAmazingPlanet. "It's almost like you could walk from Seattle to Wellington [New Zealand] if these things were floating in the ocean, and I wouldn't have expected that."
In all, 203,186 earthquakes are marked on the map, which is current through 2003. And it reveals the story of plate tectonics itself.
The long volcanic seams where Earth's crust is born appear as faint, snaking lines cutting through the world's oceans. The earthquakes along these so-called spreading centers tend to be rather mild. The best studied spreading center, called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, bisects the Atlantic Ocean, on the right side of the image.
Its Pacific counterpart wanders along the eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean, cutting a wide swath offshore of South America. Another spreading center makes a jog though the Indian Ocean and up through the Red Sea.
But one glance at the map shows that the real earthquake action is elsewhere. Subduction zones, the places where tectonic plates overlap and one is forced to dive deep beneath the other and into the Earth's crushing interior — a process that generates the biggest earthquakes on the planet — stand out like a Vegas light show.
Nelson said this concept hit home particularly for the Ring of Fire, the vast line of subduction zones around the northern and western edge of the Pacific Ocean.
"I have a general sense of where it is, and a notion of plate tectonics, but when I first pulled the data in and started painting it in geographically, it was magnificent," Nelson said. "I was awestruck at how rigid those bands of earthquake activity really are."
SEATTLE — Some residents evacuated from hillside homes on Washington state's Whidbey Island after a large landslide are being told they can return, now that geologists have taken a preliminary look at the area.
The 50-acre expanse of Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire, England is home to a number of curious rock formations shaped by tens of thousands of years of erosion, but the most impressive of all is Idol Rock, a 200-ton monolith balancing on a tiny...
Landforms are the natural physical features of the earth’s terrain. They can range from very small in size, such as the grooves on rock surfaces, to the massive mountain ranges and ocean basins. All seven continents are home to many distinct landforms, such as mountains, plains and rivers.
"Time to study for your geography or history test? Need ideas for a story setting? Unsure what to call that earthen structure you spotted in a national park? Use this list of landform vocabulary words to help you with all of your geography and topography needs.
Landforms, features which make up the Earth’s surface, vary widely around the world. From deserts to glaciers, canyons to continents, islands to swamps, you can learn a lot from your local landforms. From climate to the crops grown locally, landforms play a huge role in how humans live and function on the planet. The more we understand these landform vocabulary words, the easier it is to understand the world around us."
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