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Chapter 6: Geological Activity from Plate Tectonics Processes

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Plate tectonics = natural disasters - weather disasters

So many natural disasters occur because of plate tectonics processes. By using what we know about plate tectonics we can understand where most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions will strike. We can know where to look for many types of mineral deposits.

The scar in this satellite image is of the San Andreas Fault as it runs through the San Francisco Bay Area. The fault is seen from the upper left to the lower right of this image. The fault forms a trough that is filled with water at Crystal Springs Reservoir. The development in pink and green is San Mateo and Burlingame. Foster City, which is built on fill, has curved streets extending into the bay. Scientists will use space-based radar along this same flight path over the next years to look for changes in the ground surface along the fault.

Chapter Outline

Chapter Summary


Most earthquakes and volcanoes are located along plate boundaries. Plate tectonic processes can explain why we see these types of geological activity where we do. Stresses build up in some locations and may cause folding or faulting. Earthquakes strike along all three types of plate boundaries. The most damaging earthquakes are shallow and people in earthquake-prone regions must be aware of the potential damage from earthquakes. Seismologists have scales for measuring earthquake intensity and magnitude and work with designers to create earthquake-safe structures and guidelines for being safe in earthquakes. Earthquakes are often associated with volcanoes. Volcanoes erupt at all types of plate boundaries except transform. Volcanic eruptions can be quiet or explosive and the volcanoes they form range from large shields, to classic peaks, to small cones. Volcanic activity creates unique landforms. Some geological activity, both earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, are located away from plate boundaries.

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Difficulty Level:
At Grade
Date Created:
Feb 24, 2012
Last Modified:
Jan 14, 2016
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