Investigating Plate Tectonics with Google Earth Working together

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Investigating Plate Tectonics with Google Earth
Working together: Your team should be grouped around a single computer for viewing Google Earth or Excel. If you have another computer available, you could use it for filling out this answer sheet electronically. Otherwise you can start with filling it in on paper.

Deliverables: The person responsible for actually turning in this assignment should email the filled-in version of this Word file and the Excel spreadsheet to all the team mates and me by the due date on the syllabus.

Grading: 75 points – Questions are worth 2 points unless otherwise marked (ex. [5]= 5 pnts). You must support statements you make with explanations. Answers will be graded on accuracy, completeness, and clarity.

Your task: In this investigation you will examine data sets of topography, bathymetry (ocean depth), volcano location, earthquake location, and ocean floor age to determine the location and attributes of different plate tectonic boundaries. After looking at global plate tectonics, you will look at our study regions more closely (Pacific NW of USA and Himalaya).

  • When you bring files into Google Earth, make sure you save them to My Places and then FileSaveSave My Places. That way if Google Earth crashes, everything will reload automatically when you restart.

  • You should uncheck data sets that you are not using for a given question because they may interfere with each other (particularly the Age-of-Ocean-Floor).

  • Earthquakes and volcanos will not show up until you are somewhat zoomed in. You will probably find that an eye altitude of 4000-5000km is best for balancing view scope with data visibility.

A. Atlantic Ocean
Double-click plate tectonics exercise.kmz to open it in Google Earth (don’t load part2.kmz yet or leave it not-visible)
Make the Atlantic cross-section visible (located in the Cross-sections folder) and Show the Elevation Profile.

  1. On the cross-section below, mark the transitions from continental crust to oceanic crust (Use what you know about plate thickness. The actual sea level line does not necessarily tell you where the edge of the continental crust is.)

  2. Mark the plate boundary between North American and African plates.

  1. [5 pnts] Using earthquake, bathymetry, and ocean floor age data, describe the lines of evidence that support the location you have chosen for the plate boundary (this answer should be a paragraph long and you should be certain to back up statements you make with good explanations)

  2. What type of earthquakes (shallow or deep) occur along the plate boundary?

  3. Why does the plate boundary have an elevated profile (i.e. why the mid ocean ridge?) (Consider density and temperature)

  4. What rate (in mm/yr ) are each of the plates moving relative to the boundary? (You will need to use the ocean floor age data and the Ruler tool to determine this)

  5. What type of plate boundary is it?

  6. [5] Using the diagnostic plate boundary features that you have determined from examining the mid-Atlantic ridge, identify this same type of boundary in other places around the globe. Go the final page of this assignment and mark in red all the boundaries that are the same type as this one.

Directory: files -> NAGTWorkshops
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NAGTWorkshops -> A repulsive River Comes Back by Barry Boyer
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