This_dynamic_Earth_USGS

This_dynamic_Earth_USGS - View of the planet Earth from the...

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View of the planet Earth from the Apollo spacecraft. The Red Sea, which separates Saudi Arabia from the continent of Africa, is clearly visible at the top. (Photograph courtesy of NASA.) Contents Preface Historical perspective Developing the theory Understanding plate motions "Hotspots": Mantle Some unanswered questions Plate tectonics and people Endnotes thermal plumes 1 of 77 2002-01-01 11:52
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This pdf-version was edited by Peter Lindeberg in December 2001. Any deviation from the original text is non-intentional. This book was originally published in paper form in February 1996 (design and coordination by Martha Kiger; illustrations and production by Jane Russell). It is for sale for $7 from: U.S. Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop SSOP Washington, DC 20402-9328 or it can be ordered directly from the U.S. Geological Survey: Call toll-free 1-888-ASK-USGS Or write to USGS Information Services Box 25286, Building 810 Denver Federal Center Denver, CO 80225 303-202-4700; Fax 303-202-4693 ISBN 0-16-048220-8 Version 1.08 The online edition contains all text from the original book in its entirety. Some figures have been modified to enhance legibility at screen resolutions. Many of the images in this book are available in high resolution from the USGS Media for Science page. USGS Home Page URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/publications/text/dynamic.html Last updated: 01.29.01 Contact: jmwatson@usgs.gov 2 of 77 2002-01-01 11:52
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In the early 1960s, the emergence of the theory of plate tectonics started a revolution in the earth sciences. Since then, scientists have verified and refined this theory, and now have a much better understanding of how our planet has been shaped by plate-tectonic processes. We now know that, directly or indirectly, plate tectonics influences nearly all geologic processes, past and present. Indeed, the notion that the entire Earth's surface is continually shifting has profoundly changed the way we view our world. People benefit from, and are at the mercy of, the forces and consequences of plate tectonics. With little or no warning, an earthquake or volcanic eruption can unleash bursts of energy far more powerful than anything we can generate. While we have no control over plate-tectonic processes, we now have the knowledge to learn from them. The more we know about plate tectonics, the better we can appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the land upon which we live, as well as the occasional violent displays of the Earth's awesome power. This booklet gives a brief introduction to the concept of plate tectonics and complements the visual and written information in This Dynamic Planet (see Further reading ), a map published in 1994 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Smithsonian Institution. The booklet highlights some of the people and discoveries that advanced the development of the theory and traces its progress since its proposal. Although the general idea of plate tectonics is now widely accepted, many aspects still continue to confound and challenge scientists. The
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This note was uploaded on 02/17/2011 for the course GEOSCI 105 taught by Professor Ritsema during the Winter '11 term at University of Michigan.

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This_dynamic_Earth_USGS - View of the planet Earth from the...

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