You will distinguish between diverging, converging and transform tectonic plate boundaries…. 1 answer below »

Introduction: According to plate tectonic theory, Earth’s surface is divided into moving plates. A plate is a large, mobile slab of rock that is part of Earth’s rigid out shell known as the lithosphere. This includes rocks of the crust and upper mantle.

The boundaries between plates are of three general types. The boundary between plates that are moving apart is termed divergingwhile a boundary between plates that are moving toward each other is called converging. A transformboundary is found where two plates are moving horizontally past each other.

Objective: You will distinguish between diverging, converging and transform tectonic plate boundaries.



the rigid outer part of the earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle

divergent plate boundary:

A tectonicboundary where twoplates are moving away from each other and new crust is forming from magma that rises to the Earth’s surface between the twoplates

convergent plate boundary:

a location where two tectonicplates are moving toward each other, often causing oneplate to slide below the other (in a process known as subduction). The collision of tectonicplates can result in earthquakes, volcanoes, the formation of mountains, and other geological events.

transform plate boundary:

locations where two plates slide past one another. The fracture zone that forms a transform plate boundary is known as a transform fault.


the sideways and downward movement of the edge of a plate of the earth’s crust into the mantle beneath another plate.

Andes Mountains:

Contains the highest peaks in the western hemisphere and stretch about 4500 miles along the western coast of South America


A. Fill in the data chart below using the Tectonic Plates map provided. Place a check in the appropriate box identifying the type of plate boundary.

Procedure B:

1. On the graph provided, construct a cross-section along line AB on your map of South America to show the depth of earthquake foci.

2. After plotting the depth of earthquake foci, connect the points with a smooth line.

3. On your cross-section, copy the arrows that show the direction the crustal plates are moving.

4. Determine which side of the cross-section represents continental crust. Print the word “continental” in this location.

5. Determine which side of the cross-section represents oceanic crust. Print the word “oceanic” in this location.

6. Write in the average density of the continental crust and the oceanic crust on the cross-section. Refer to the “Inferred Properties of Earth’s Interior” diagram.

7. On the cross-section, predict the direction of any movement where these two crustal plates meet. Draw arrows on the cross-section showing the direction of plate movements.

Procedure C:

1. Note that on the “United States Pacific Coastline” map, thick arrows show the directions of plate movement but no arrow for the North American Plate is shown. Referring to the attached Tectonic Plate map, draw a thick arrow on the North American Plate indicating its direction of movement.

2. What is the relative movement of rocks on the west side of the San Andreas fault compared to the direction the North American Plate is moving?

3. Using separate paper, cut out two pieces of paper that are rectangles 3 cm x 6 cm.

4. The dashed lines in the diagram below represent the rectangles that you cut out.

5. Placing the two cutouts side by side, label each one as shown in the diagram.

6. Place the labeled cutouts side by side on the diagram with the fault at the boundary between them. The cutout below represents the Pacific Plate and the one on the right represents the North American Plate. Both are moving in the direction of the arrows.

7. By moving the cutout “plates” in the direction of the arrows, determine how their differing rates of movement are producing the displacement of rocks on either side of the San Andreas Fault. Write your conclusions below.

Discussion Questions:(Answer in complete sentences).

1. Using the cross-section of South America, describe the pattern of earthquake depth from west to east along line AB.

2. Based on your answer to question 1, what appears to happen as the ocean plate to the west collides with the continental plate to the east?

3. Referring to a world map, what surface feature on the west coast of South America has apparently formed as a result of collision of two crustal plates?

4. According to your data chart and the Tectonic Plates map, where are most divergent plate boundaries found?

5. Referring to Procedure C, what type of plate boundary is the San Andreas fault?

6. At which type of plate boundary would a subduction zone be found?

7. At which type of plate boundary is new oceanic crust created?

8. Oceanic trenches are associated with which type of plate boundary?

Conclusion: Describe the three types of plates.

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