Earth is a restless planet. Heat in the Earth’s interior causes giant plates of crust to move around on the surface. The crashing and smashing of these plates leads to nearly all of the geological activity we see. Plate collisions bring us volcanoes and earthquakes, mountain ranges, and many resources. Seafloor forms as plates move apart. Some of Earth’s most beautiful landscapes come from plate tectonics. The Grand Tetons in Wyoming rose up as the Farallon Plate sunk beneath the North American Plate during the Laramide orogeny.
Miles Orchinik. CK-12 Foundation. CC BY-NC 3.0.