The Tectonic Plates Essay

932 Words Mar 17th, 2015 4 Pages
Subduction is defined as the downward movement of the edge of a tectonic plate – immense pieces of rock that interact with each other and form earth’s crust – into the mantle beneath another tectonic plate. The area in which this takes place is known as a plate boundary. There are three types of plate boundaries: convergent, divergent, and transform. Subduction is one of the possible outcomes of convergent plate boundaries, in which the tectonic plates move into each other. There are two basic types of convergence, which are both determined by the density of the tectonic plates involved. The first is when you have plates of different densities, in which the more dense plate will be forced under the less dense plate in the process of subduction. However, if you have tectonic plates of similar density, then both plates refuse to subduct and crush into each other (Nichols and Williams, 2009).

Example of different density convergence.

Subduction is one of the most violent forces on earth, responsible for many landmarks and natural formations, such as mountains and volcanoes. During subduction, the tectonic plate that is forced beneath the other plunges into the mantle and is melted by the magma. This is also the recycling process that the earth uses to create space for new crust that is created at other plate boundaries (Nichols and Williams, 2009). Subduction zones have very specific characteristics which make them relatively easy to identify. The most noticeable is the…

Related Documents