Plate Tectonics

This week’s Learning Resources focus on plate tectonics, the ever-active colliding plates of the Earth’s surface whose movements form mountains, cause earthquakes, fuel volcanic eruptions, and thus, shape the physical environment around us.

Consider the geography where you live. Are mountains tall, short, jagged, or smooth? Or are there none at all? Consider as well that certain areas on the planet are at a higher risk for earthquakes, volcanoes, or tsunamis. What is the risk of an earthquake, volcano, or tsunami in your area? Have you ever experienced one? As you have seen through the Learning Resources, where an area lies on a plate determines its susceptibility to these natural phenomena.

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In this Discussion, you will examine the relationship between plate tectonics and the formation of mountains and relate those phenomena to the region in which you live. You will also assess the potential danger in your area of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or tsunamis.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Think about how mountains form and why they form in some areas, but not in others.
  • Consider the potential risks of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis occurring in your local area.
  • Reflect on the forces behind these natural processes.

Post a brief description of the nearest mountains to you. Describe how plate tectonics affected the topography of the land in the area in which you live. Explain how the presence or absence of mountains (and their characteristics) in your area/region affects climate. Then, briefly assess the potential risk in your area of the natural hazard (earthquake, volcano, or tsunami) of your Discussion thread and relate it to plate activity.

Thread 1: Earthquakes


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