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There are seven major tectonic plates on the planet that are further subdivided into dozens of smaller plates. Geologists do not always agree on how to subdivide the minor plates. Each plate is in motion relative to the ... More »

www.reference.com Science Earth Science Plate Tectonics

Despite its seeming solidity, the Earth is dynamic. Its shifting tectonic plates can cause earthquakes, eruptions and even change the shape of continents. Learn something of how it works below. More »

www.reference.com Science Earth Science Plate Tectonics

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, reach... More »

www.reference.com Science Earth Science Plate Tectonics
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The Earth's tectonic plates move because of the way lava moves inside the planet. The center of the Earth is a ball of molten metal. Outside of that molten metal is a layer of lava that moves the plates as it heats and c... More »

www.reference.com Science Earth Science Plate Tectonics

When two continental tectonic plates collide, it causes the rocks in both plates to fold and eventually become piled up to form mountains. The most obvious example of this are the Himalayas, which were formed as a result... More »

www.reference.com Science Earth Science Plate Tectonics

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 t... More »

www.reference.com Science Earth Science Plate Tectonics

The movement of tectonic plates causes earthquakes when two plates that are in contact with each other move in opposite directions and release built-up stress. For example, one plate may move north, while the other may m... More »

www.reference.com Science Earth Science Plate Tectonics