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Science >> Earth Science for Kids

Earth Science for Kids

Plate Tectonics

A Land in Motion

Although we think of the land on Earth as being fixed and stable, it turns out that it is constantly moving. This movement is way too slow for us to notice, however, because it only moves between one to 6 inches per year. It takes millions of years for the land to move a significant amount.

The Lithosphere

The part of the land that is moving is the Earth's surface called the lithosphere. The lithosphere is made up of the Earth's crust and a part of the upper mantle. The lithosphere moves in big chunks of land called tectonic plates. Some of these plates are huge and cover entire continents.

Major and Minor Tectonic Plates

Most of the Earth is covered by seven major plates and another eight or so minor plates. The seven major plates include the African, Antarctic, Eurasian, North American, South American, India-Australian, and the Pacific plates. Some of the minor plates include the Arabian, Caribbean, Nazca, and Scotia plates.

Here is a picture showing the major tectonic plates of the world.


Click on the picture to see a larger view

Continents and Oceans

Tectonic plates are around 62 miles thick. There are two main types of tectonic plates: oceanic and continental. Plate Boundaries

The movement of tectonic plates is most evident at the boundaries between the plates. There are three main types of boundaries: Interesting Facts about Plate Tectonics

Earth Science Subjects

Geology
Composition of the Earth
Rocks
Minerals
Plate Tectonics
Erosion
Fossils
Glaciers
Soil Science
Mountains
Topography
Volcanoes
Earthquakes
The Water Cycle
Geology Glossary and Terms

Nutrient Cycles
Food Chain and Web
Carbon Cycle
Oxygen Cycle
Water Cycle
Nitrogen Cycle
Atmosphere and Weather
Atmosphere
Climate
Weather
Wind
Clouds
Dangerous Weather
Hurricanes
Tornadoes
Weather Forecasting
Seasons
Weather Glossary and Terms

World Biomes
Biomes and Ecosystems
Desert
Grasslands
Savanna
Tundra
Tropical Rainforest
Temperate Forest
Taiga Forest
Marine
Freshwater
Coral Reef
Environmental Issues
Land Pollution
Air Pollution
Water Pollution
Ozone Layer
Recycling
Global Warming

Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable Energy
Biomass Energy
Geothermal Energy
Hydropower
Solar Power
Wave and Tidal Energy
Wind Power

Other
Ocean Waves and Currents
Ocean Tides
Tsunamis
Ice Age
Forest Fires
Phases of the Moon


Science >> Earth Science for Kids






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