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Plate Tectonics Activities


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Testing plate tectonics in the Gulf of California
Paul Umhoefer, Northern Arizona University
This is a simple exercise to use real-world data from recent large earthquakes so that students can "test" for themselves if plate tectonics "works" in the Gulf of California.

Identifying Plate Tectonic Boundaries for a Virtual Ocean Basin
Steve Reynolds, Arizona State University - Downtown Phoenix
Students observe an ocean basin and two continental margins to identify possible plate boundaries and predict where earthquakes and volcanoes would occur. They also draw the boundaries in cross section.

Mapping Plate Tectonic Boundaries
Michael Kerwin, University of Denver
This activity asks students to explore a National Geographic map showing Earth's plate tectonic boundaries. The exercise lets the students examine relationships between plate tectonic boundaries and geologic ...

Connecting Cross-Sectional Data from the Red Sea to Plate Tectonics
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
Students will use map views and cross-sectional profiles across the Red Sea to determine plate tectonic processes in the region. Google Earth is a technological tool used to facilitate the investigation.

Learning Assessment #1 - Plate Tectonics
Michelle Speta, University of Alberta; Leslie Reid, University of Calgary
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of the basic concepts of plate tectonics.

Plate Tectonics Jigsaw
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
Students participate in a jigsaw activity to learn about types of plate boundaries, becoming an expert in one of five global datasets - earthquakes, volcanoes, seafloor age, topography, and gravity - and then ...

Using Google Earth to Explore Plate Tectonics
Laurel Goodell, Princeton University
Students use Google Earth to learn about plate tectonics by exploring the topography of the earth's continents and ocean floor, the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, and seafloor age. They become familiar with these global data sets and understand how Earth's tectonic plates and plate boundaries are defined.

Metamorphism and Continental Collision
Kenneth Howard, Wake Technical Community College
This is an exercise designed to help students link metamorphism and other geologic processes in context of the plate tectonic theory.

Testing the Fixed-hotspot-moving-plate model
Sara Harris, University of British Columbia
Students examine hot spot tracks, magnetic inclination data, and coral data from the Hawaii-Emperor Seamount Chain to test the hypothesis that hotspots are fixed. Most students have learned somewhere that hotspots ...

Tracking Tectonic Plates Using Two Independent Methods
Laurel Goodell, Princeton University
Students use two independent methods to determine relative plate motions across a plate boundary. They find that plate tectonic theory generally holds up but also discover sophisticated detail (e.g. velocities ...

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