Q:

What are some major tectonic plates in the United States?

A:

Quick Answer

The vast majority of the United States is on the North American Plate. Hawaii is separate, on the Pacific Plate, as is a small portion of California. The North American Plate extends well east of the United States, reaching as far as Iceland.

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Full Answer

The North American Plate is bordered by several additional plates, leading to notable geological phenomena at the juncture points. The most famous of the boundaries lies along the San Andreas Fault, where the North American and Pacific Plates intersect. This boundary results in frequent earthquakes, sometimes of extreme magnitude.

Beneath the North American Plate lie several hotspots. Among these is the Yellowstone Caldera, which is a massive depository of molten rock lying just below the surface of Yellowstone National Park.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What plate boundary is San Francisco situated on?

    A:

    San Francisco is located on the San Andreas Fault, which is the boundary of the Pacific and North American plates. The friction between these two plates as they slide past one another is the cause of the earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay area.

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  • Q:

    What is the difference between continental drift and plate tectonics?

    A:

    Plate tectonics is the theory that explains the structure, composition and internal workings of the Earth on a worldwide scale, while continental drift refers to the theory that the continents all used to be connected in one megacontinent which scientists dub Pangaea. Both theories attempt to explain the movement of parts of the Earth's crust.

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  • Q:

    What is some evidence for the plate tectonics theory?

    A:

    Plate tectonics theory, formerly known as the theory of continental drift, is well supported in geology, geography and biology. It has the power to explain many phenomena, such as volcanoes and earthquakes. The theory provides a working model for analyses of phenomena that scientists observe. This explanatory power is, itself, strong evidence that the theory is correct.

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  • Q:

    What causes plate tectonics?

    A:

    Plate tectonics is primarily caused by Earth's cooling mechanism, which generates convection currents in the planet's mantle that trigger slow but constant tectonic plate movement. This phenomena occurs on the boundaries of adjacent plates, which are classified as divergent, convergent and transform boundaries.

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