Plate Tectonics and the earth’s cycles
The earth has three very important cycles the work co-dependant with the Plate Tectonic Cycle. They are the hydrologic cycle, atmospheric cycle, and rock cycle.
Plate tectonics as I have read is the movement of the earth’s crust caused by convection currents that occur within the mantle. As hot magma rises from the ocean to the surface it pushes the plates apart. This is known as divergent plates. As the rock cools and becomes denser then the rocks around it, it will sink back into the earth’s mantle. This is known as the convergent plate. Within the convergent plate boundaries show forms of ocean trenches and volcanic mountains. The Marinas trench of the coast of Guam and the Mariana Islands are an example. The San Andreas Fault is an example of a sliding plate boundary.
Rocks that are formed after the cooling of magma or lava are called igneous rock. Hot ...view middle of the document...
The hydrological cycle is the entire cycle of water. This includes rain water, surface water, and ground water back to water vapor where it collects back in the clouds to fall back to earth. This cycle happens due to the gravity and sun. Gravity makes the water flow and fall, and the sun evaporates the water and returns it back to the clouds. Hydrology causes gradation and weathering of rocks as well as causes chemical decomposition of rocks and moves rocks from one location to another.
Plate tectonics do cause change in the ocean currents and this will generate more heat. When the tectonic plates shift causing volcanic eruptions, the degree of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide increase in the atmosphere. We see every in our country as states that used to be the coolest are now getting to be the hottest. Studies have concluded that this is because of the shift in tectonic plates.
It is hard to imagine that over 200 million years ago our 7 continents were one piece of land. This was known as Pangea. As the tectonic plates changed, this vast land drifted and formed smaller land areas. The climate was the most affected by this. An example of this would be a larger land area would most likely follow a strong climate. As an example this change in climate could be related to the conversion of forests and the Andes Mountains into deserts. A study done by Harvard scientists suggested that the movement of the tectonic plates reduced the amount of rain and further diminished the level of soil erosion. The global climate cycle is also disturbed by the change in water body location which in turn helps regulating heat and moisture on the earth.
1. Earth system Science - http://earthsci.org/processes/geopro/introgeo/introgeo.html
2. NASA Earth Observatory - http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/
3. Absolute Astronomy - http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Plate_tectonics
4. Astrobiology Magazine - http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/3039/plate-tectonics-could-be-essential-for-life