What are Tectonic Plates?

If you’re a geology enthusiast or just curious about some of the planet’s inner workings, you may have heard of tectonic plates, but what are they exactly? In this article, we’ll uncover the mystery behind these geological phenomena, give an overview of what they are and how they influence our lives today.
What are Tectonic Plates?

A tectonic plate is a massive slab of rock that is part of the Earth’s outer layer, also known as the lithosphere. It is constantly shifting due to a process called plate tectonics. Tectonic plates contain rigid lithosphere rocks that vary in size and move both horizontally and vertically. The movement and interaction of these plates create many of the Earth’s natural features, such as mountains, canyons, volcanoes, and ocean basins.

The Earth’s lithosphere is broken into a number of tectonic plates that fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. They range in size from the large Pacific Plate to the tiny Juan de Fuca Plate. Plate boundaries are found where two or more plates meet. Most boundaries tend to move slowly, with some as slow as 2 cm (0.8 inches) per year but some can move as fast as 10 cm (4 inches) in a single year. Collisions between plates result in the formation of mountains, volcanoes, and deep-sea trenches. Spreading plates form oceanic ridges and rift valleys, which ultimately create new crust.

We hope this article helped you understand the basics of tectonic plates and how they move! It’s fascinating to understand the forces that shape our planet, and we recommend doing additional research to learn more. Thanks for reading!

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