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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Convection currents move tectonic plates when there is heat inside the mantle that is rising and falling. The radioactive decay in the core is responsible for the convection currents. More »

The Earth's crust is made up of a number of plates that sit on top of the mantle, which is made up of molten rock. The movement of these plates is called plate tectonics. Plate movement can, over time, cause mountains to... More »

Continental and oceanic are the two types of tectonic plates. Continental plates tend to be larger than oceanic and bear the majority of a continent's mass. Continental plates tend to be much thicker on average, but less... More »