Tectonic Plates

Tectonic plates are the large individual land masses that make up the earth’s crust. There are eight major and many minor plates. Where they meet are called boundaries.

They can move as fast as your fingernails grow or as fast as your hair grows.

Tectonic plates can create mountains, earthquakes, and volcanoes as well as ridges and trenches in the ocean.

When they push together, they can form mountains, which can include forming a volcano. The “Pacific Ring of Fire” is named for all the volcanoes around the rim of the plate boundary.

A Tectonic plate sliding over another one


A Tectonic plate sliding over another

When they pull away from each other, this can create an earthquakes or trenches or ridges or valleys.

An image showing a trench

When they slide alongside each other, it can cause earthquakes. This kind of boundary is found in California. The line where the boundaries meet is called The San Andreas Fault.

Two Tectonic plates sliding against each other

Which of these would explain the creation of islands?

An image of several islands in the sea with a volcano near them

Island image source

Image sources of tectonic movement (not GIF): domdomegg [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]