Earth 23

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Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics is a science theory explaining the structure of the earth’s crust and many associated phenomena as resulting from the interaction of rigid lithospheric plates that move slowly over the underlying mantle. From the deepest ocean trench to the tallest mountain, plate tectonics explains the features and movement of Earth’s surface in the present and the past.

Lesson 1 (or “Day 1”) Material
Lesson 2 (or “Day 2”) Material
Lesson 3 (or “Day 3”) Material
Lesson 4 (or “Day 4”) Material


5:16 The Early Earth and Plate Tectonics

1:09 Divergent Boundary—Fast Spreading Ridge Educational

5:15 Rockies Thrust Up | National Geographic


Compare Contrast and Debate

The San Andreas Fault is about 1,200 kilometers long. The distance of 1,200 kilometers is equal to about 750 miles. The fault passes through much of California. The fault forms a large portion of the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate.

A recent study says the San Andreas Fault may result in another large earthquake. The study was published in a reputable science journal. It says the fault has reached a stress level for an earthquake of greater than 7.0.

According to the study, a massive earthquake there would cause major damage. The area is highly populated. These areas continue to grow in population even though people know about the risk. An earthquake would cause extensive damage to their property, highways and local roadways.

Position A – Additional, future growth in the area known to be at risk should stop. Government should intervene and prohibit future growth in the area.

Position B – Decisions about additional growth in the area should be left up to individuals who would be directly impacted..

Resources Documents and Links

Special Notes and Notices

Instructor Emphasis:

  • Science & Engineering Practice: Engage in scientific argument from evidence.
  • Cross-Cutting Concept: Systems and System Models.

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