What would the Earth be like if it didn't have plate tectonics?


Quick Answer

Without plate tectonics, there would be no mountains, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis or continental drift. If the Earth did not move, there may not be any continents at all.

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Full Answer

At convergent zones, one tectonic plate is sliding underneath another one. The plate buckles and crumples into mountain ranges. The Himalayas grow taller every year because of this. No one would be trekking to the top of Mount Everest without plate tectonics. Volcanoes form for similar reasons. There would be no Hawaii without volcanoes, because volcanic activity formed the islands.

Deep ocean trenches are the result of divergent zones where two plates are pushed away from one another. The ocean floor is renewed as some plates are pushed closer together and others pulled apart. Volcanoes and mountains also arise from this process. Earthquakes are the result of plate tectonics. With no earthquakes there would be no tsunamis.

There might not be any continents without plate tectonics. Approximately 300 million years ago, a supercontinent known as Pangea formed. There were no individual land masses, just one massive chunk of land that slowly separated over time into what society calls the continents. If the continents had never formed, it is possible that life never would have evolved on land either.

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