2. Plate Patterns

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Kilauea Crater, Hawaii: Pu'u 'O'o crater at dusk. Image courtesy of USGS.Kilauea Crater, Hawaii: Pu'u 'O'o crater at dusk. Image courtesy of USGS.Starting with an earthquake epicenter map (generated by students in The Big One activity), students add information about where active volcanoes are located and the location of the mid-ocean ridges. With the combined information about volcanoes, mid-ocean ridges, and earthquake epicenters, students can trace the boundaries of the Earth’s major plates. On individual student maps containing earthquake epicenter data, they outline the plate boundaries, learn the names of each plate, and use colored pencils to highlight volcano zones and mid-ocean ridges. Future activities in this box have students adding plate direction and speed information to student maps as well as labeling 4 different types of plate boundaries: continent-continent convergent boundaries, subducting convergent boundaries, transform boundaries, and divergent boundaries. The direction and speed of many plates can be inferred from the opposition of mid-ocean ridges on one side of the plate and volcano zones on the other.

Can recognize that the Earth’s crust is broken into large, independently moving pieces known as tectonic plates.
Can define the boundaries of the tectonic plates using data about the location of earthquake epicenters, active volcanoes, and mid-ocean ridges.
Can use latitude and longitude information to plot locations on a world map.


Mid-ocean ridge
Tectonic plate
Plate boundary

Attachment Size
2plate_patterns.doc 70.5 KB
volcano_list.doc 69 KB