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Age of the Sea Floor - surface of the Earth today A few...

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Age of the Sea Floor If the crustal plates are pulling apart at boundaries like the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (see the line of earthquake epicenters down the center of the Atlantic in the preceding figure), the sea floor near these ridges should be very young geologically, since it is formed of material upwelling from the interior. This is indeed the case, as the following figure shows. Age of the sea floor crustal plates This figure displays the estimated age of sea floor crustal plates with red the youngest and blue the oldest ( more information ). Click on the image for a larger one with legible writing (but it is a 385 kB file). One can see clearly that material near the crustal boundaries is very young geologically. Consequences of Plate Tectonics Past and future consequences of plate tectonics for the Earth's surface are enormous.
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Some Past and Present Consequences Plate tectonics has been responsible for many of the features that we find on the
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Unformatted text preview: surface of the Earth today. A few examples include • The Appalachian Mountains were formed from wrinkling of the Earth's surface produced by the collision of the North American and African plates. • The seismic and volcanic activity of the West Coast of the United States (for example, the San Andreas Fault ) is produced by the grinding of the Pacific and North American Plates against each other. Indeed, the entire "ring of fire" around the Pacific, corresponding to regions of high volcanic and seismic activity, is caused primarly by the motion of the Pacific Plate. • The Dead Sea in Israel is part of a rift system produced by plates that are pulling apart in that region. • The Himalayan Mountains were formed (indeed are still growing) as a result of the Indian subplate burrowing under the Eurasian plate and raising its edge. Here are links to animations of the motion of continental plates for the last 750 million years....
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