Q:

How fast do tectonic plates move?

A:

Quick Answer

Tectonic plates move at the rate of about 1 to 2 inches each year. Tectonic plates can move in various directions, causing them to collide at certain points on Earth and pull away at other points.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

When tectonic plates move away from each other, or diverge, they cause magma below the surface of the Earth to well up and create new solidified plate surface. Tectonic plates can also move closer to each other, or converge, which often results in mountain systems. Well-known mountain systems were formed through the convergence of nearby tectonic plates.

The sites at the point of converging plates are often marked by frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. For example, the area surrounding the Pacific Ocean, especially to the west along Asia's eastern border, is known to experience more frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, the eastern border of the Pacific Ocean, along the western borders of North and South America, experiences less frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This is due to the fact that the Pacific plate is moving in a western direction, toward Asia, at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per year.

Once these plates merge, the direction of the plate movement can shift. Once this shift occurs, the areas on the leading edge of the plate will begin to experience these natural disasters.

Learn more about Earthquakes
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why is Japan prone to earthquakes?

    A:

    Japan is prone to earthquakes because it is within 125 miles of large tectonic plates that frequently clash together. These plates move closer together each year, further increasing the risk of earthquakes. One famous example of Japan's earthquakes is the 2011 8.9 magnitude quake, which resulted in a large tsunami.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does an earthquake form?

    A:

    Earthquakes happen when the boundaries of the Earth's tectonic plates bump and slide past one another; sometimes, they get stuck on jagged edges and cause earthquakes once they are released. These earthquakes are always followed by aftershocks starting from the same epicenter.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What were the causes of the Kobe earthquake?

    A:

    The Kobe earthquake occurred because the town lies on the boundary between the Philippine and Eurasian tectonic plates, which rub against each other. The Eurasian plate is lighter than the Philippine plate, so the latter moves beneath the Eurasian plate, which in the case of the Kobe resulted in a shallow-depth-of-focus earthquake that was devastating.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do earthquakes start?

    A:

    Earthquakes are caused by the collision of tectonic plates. These plates are a part of the Earth's crust. Continents float on tectonic plates that move very slowly over centuries. There are many tectonic plates all over the Earth's crust.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore