Plate Tectonics, Fault Lines and Fault Line Movement Essay by JPWrite

Plate Tectonics, Fault Lines and Fault Line Movement
An analysis of how plate tectonics have and will affect the California coast.
# 66822 | 2,275 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2006 | US
Published on Jun 20, 2006 in Geology and Geophysics (Earth) , Geology and Geophysics (General)

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This paper studies how plate tectonics and fault line movement are impacting the shape of the California coastline. The paper begins with a discussion of how plate tectonics have changed the earth's surface, including through earthquakes. Then the paper turns to one of the most famous major fault lines, the San Andreas fault. The paper examines its historical, current and future influence on California, such as the major earthquakes of the 1800s and 1900s. The paper concludes with a discussion of other fault lines, including active and inactive ones.

From the Paper:

"Plate tectonics is responsible for the building of mountain ranges, the separation of continents through creation of new crust when the seafloor spreads as new lithospheric material pushes out of rifts on the ocean floor, and for earthquakes and volcanic activity (including the creation of volcanic islands and mountain ranges). The regions where the action of plate tectonics is most discernible is where adjoining tectonic plates are most active: pressing into each other, sliding over or under each other, sliding past each other. This activity usually takes place at a geologic pace--that is, so slowly that it escapes the notice of short-lived creatures such as human beings. Humans are unlikely to see mountain ranges forming or continents drifting apart. When two great tectonic plates, such as the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, move relative to each other along the Pacific coast at an average rate of 2 inches a year, who would notice? But the these gigantic plates do not move only by drifting or creeping at such an imperceptible pace. As they mash into each other, portions of their adjoining edges get hung up or frozen in place for years at a time, even for centuries or thousands of years. The pressure on these junctures finally gives way as much larger movements which humans perceive (can hardly ignore!) as earthquakes."

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