Geology Essay on Plate Tectonics Activities

Plate Tectonics Activities

The plate tectonic topic is an excellent topic of study as it involves a deep uncovering of facts. This concept was developed in the early 1960s. According to this theory, the earth is made up of a hard layer called lithosphere, which is about 60 miles thick and extends to the asthenosphere (Gerya at el 221). When the lithosphere moves, affects the earth. For instance, it is thought that the interaction movements of the plate cause most of the Earth’s seismic, mountain rising and volcanic activities. It is factual to say that plate tectonics processes are among the major influencers of long lasting climatic change. The processes contribute to both physical and chemical components, which are responsible for the evolution process in the Earth

Figure 1: plate tectonic’s movement

Additionally, plate tectonics incorporates a wider range of activities occurring in the earth as a planet.  Some of its events are scientific in nature and can be explained in details, while others are theoretical. Some of the major effects of plate tectonics include, earthquakes, continental drifting, mountain formation process, and volcanism.  For a geologist or a geographer to come up with facts about plate tectonics, he or she has to synthesizes both the geologic and geophysical data. Therefore, to understand the composition of the earth one has be aware of the major plate tectonic activities. As stated earlier, activities involved in plate tectonics arise from its movement and extend to the crust and its outer shell (Gerya at el 221).  The plate tectonic movement is a theory that has allowed humans to gain insight and knowledge to explain some of the world phenomenon. The latest discoveries by the 21st scientists show that plate tectonics highly influence the atmosphere and oceans.

The Mountain Formation Process

When we view the mountains it is quite hard to tell the difference by just a glance. One cannot tell the difference between mountains from a glance because of the fact that they are covered by ice or snow. Nonetheless, it is important to know the formation process of each type of mountain. All the mountain formation processes are among few of the geological processes arising from the large scale movement of the Earth’s crust. As a result of earth’s c. As a result of earth’s crust movement, different types of mountains will be formed. Weather formed through faulting or folding all are as a result plate tectonic activities.  However, it should be noted that the formation of the mountains is not related to the geological structures that they have. There are many types of mountains resulting from different types of plate tectonic activities of the earth. In addition, the plate tectonic activities explain the difference in the landscapes of some areas in the world. For example, there are parts of the earth that are plain, while others are hilly and steeply curved compared to others. There are numerous types of mountains formed as a result of plate tectonic activities and they include the ones discussed below.

Volcanic Mountain.

These are mountains formed as a result of the movements of plate tectonic along the plate boundaries. When the plate tectonics erupt they form volcanic mountains. Examples of such mountains in the world include, Zimina and Udina of Russia, Fuji, Kilimanjaro, and Vesuvius. Alternatively, when there is a series of volcanos it leads to formation of arc volcanic mountain. This because during a series of eruptions some parts of the crust melts leaving sharp arcs, which form the volcano mountains.  Volcanic mountains can further be divided into stratovolcano, composite, and shield volcano. They are easily classified though the slope or the heights of their cones. For example, both the composite and stratovolcanoes have steeply rising cones of between 33 to 40 degrees. Another fact that cannot be left untouched is the relationship between volcanic mountains and earthquakes.  During volcanic activities, an increase of earthquakes in experienced. Earthquakes occur as a result of the melting of the earth crust leaving gaps and shapes that allow the drifting of the solidified rocks underneath.

Figure 2: Volcanic arc

Fold Mountains

Fold mountains occur when the plates collide and slide over one another. When the plates undergo orogenisis they form fold mountains. For example, Jura and Zagro mountains   are fold mountains.  Most of the world’s ranges are formed through this process.

Block Mountains

Block Mountains form when the blocks are lifted or tilted by the movement of the crust.  When there are strong tensional forces. The forces split the plate and lift the Centre block, a movement leading to dropping of the sideway blocks. This eventually leads to flaking from the weak points and the blocks rise to form Block Mountains. If the tensional force is not strong it only lifts the block to less heights compared to strong forces. An example of block mountain is the Sierra Nevada Range.

Earth Quakes

This is another result of the plate tectonic activity.  Earth quakes occur when the Earth’s plates move against one another. This movement causes tension and stress, which results in the earth’s outer shell to shift or break. Earth quakes are of different types and caused by different forces that act on the plate. The major concern here is the Tectonic earth quake. A tectonic earth quake is the most common and occurs when there is shifting of the earth’s plate caused by geological force. To understand the concept of earthquake in detail it is important for one to understand the causes and impacts of these earthquakes on human life.

Causes of the Tectonic Earth Quake

Earth quakes occurs when the plates move towards each other or drift from each other. These movements form either divergent or convergent boundaries. When divergent boundaries are formed, the divergent movement results in minor earthquakes that cannot be felt. Divergent earthquakes cannot be felt because the plates move away from each other at a slow pace, which cannot be detected. On the other hand, the convergent plate movement leads to more vigorous and destructive earthquakes. This is explained by the fact that convergent boundaries involve the destruction of the crust of the earth.  Moreover, convergent earthquakes occur under the ocean. For instance, the earthquakes of San Andrea’s are caused by convergent boundaries. Both the convergent and divergent boundaries are associated with the creation of fault lines when the lines move horizontally. In conclusion, the major cause the earthquakes is the tectonic plates. Besides the volcanic and tectonic earthquakes there is the collapse earthquake, which is a minor earthquake, which is caused by mines and caves under the crust.

Earthquakes and Human effects

There would be no valid reason for understanding the plate tectonic earthquakes if th knowledge were not applicable to human life. Therefore, it is important to discuss the effects of earthquake on human life (Bassett 1992). There are a number of earthquakes, in the world, caused by plate tectonic activities. However, some are never acknowledged due to their minor effects on human daily activities, as compared to other earthquakes. Earthquakes result in deaths, property destruction, and disabilities among others. For instance, the San Andrea earthquake caused the deaths of 700 and destruction of more than 250,000 dwellings by the fire caused by the earth quakes. In another incident that occurred in 1960, the deaths of 20,000 people were recorded. Later, in the year 2004, earthquake near Indonesia and Sumatra left over 200,000 people dead. lastly, in the year 2011, in Japan, the tsunami caused by a massive earthquake caused mdeaths and destruction of facilities (Bassett 92).


Plate tectonic theory is a major source of information on the composition of the earth.  Plate tectonics significantly influence different processes within the earth, ranging from harmless ones to dangerous ones. Different types of mountains and earthquakes occur as a result of different activities within the earth’s crust. While some earthquakes are quite harmless, others are quite deatructive as they leave death and destruction in their wake.

Works Cited

“Revision World – Free GCSE & A-Level Revision Resources.” N.p., 2017.

Bassett, Dan, et al. “Upper-plate controls on co-seismic slip in the 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tohoku-oki earthquake.” Nature 531.7592 (2016): 92.

Gerya, Taras V., et al. “Plate tectonics on the Earth triggered by plume-induced subduction initiation.” Nature 527.7577 (2015): 221.

Lomnitz, Cinna. Global tectonics and earthquake risk. Vol. 5. Elsevier, 2013.