31 May 2023

The planet earth is shaped by powerful forces that make it an ideal place to inhabit, and it is made up of different mountainous formations. By your side, the mountains were formed by one of these forces specifically, which is responsible for shaping our planet.

This force is known as tectonic phenomena and it is what makes possible the appearance of both mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes as of the creation of continents and oceans. Throughout this article we will explain a little more about what tectonic phenomena are, the movements of tectonic plates and more.

Definition of tectonic phenomena

The definition of tectonic phenomena speaks of those geological processes that are related to the movement, deformation and rupture of the earth’s crust. These occur due to the activity produced by tectonic plates, these are large fragments of the earth’s crust that usually move slowly over the planet’s surface.

Some of the most common tectonic phenomena are volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, fault lines, and mountain building. In general, these phenomena cause significant damage to the geography of the planet and to people’s lives.

The study of these phenomena is extremely important, so there are certain sciences that are dedicated to them, such as structural geology. This science focuses on the study of the movements and deformations of the earth’s crustas well as in the internal structure of the earth.

On the other hand, seismology and volcanology are also dedicated to the study of tectonic phenomena such as the earthquake and volcanic eruptions.

Why does the movement of tectonic plates occur?

The movement of tectonic plates occurs thanks to the flow of the earth’s mantle. This mantle is known for being the intermediate layer of the earth and is located below the earth’s crust, its main compounds are the hot rocks and semisolids.

In some parts of the mantle, material heats up and expands, making it less dense than the surrounding one. As the material is hot and more fluid, it rises to the surface, while the denser and colder material descends to the interior of the earth.

This movement of the mantle material is what promotes the movement of tectonic plates. As the mantle material moves, it also pulls tectonic plates with it, resulting in the formation of geological features.

In summary, the movement of the mantle material leads to the movement of the tectonic plates which, in turn, result in the formation of mountains, volcanoes, oceans and even earthquakes.

There is a theory known as plate tectonics that explains the way plates move and why these movements give rise to a series of phenomena. This theory tells us about the creation of volcanic rock, the eruption of a volcano, the presence of earthquakes, the creation of mountain ranges and much more.

How do tectonic movements originate?

The origin of tectonic movements comes from thermal energy and flow inside the earth. Heat produced by the Earth’s core is transferred through the mantle, causing tectonic plates to move on the Earth’s surface.

It is known that the earth is made up of tectonic plates floating on the mantle, which move due to the forces generated in areas of divergence. That’s where the plates are pulling apart, while in the convergence zones the plates collide with each other.

When this type of phenomenon occurs, one of the formations that are created are the oceanic ridges. These are submarine mountain ranges located in the divergence zones of the tectonic plates at the bottom of the ocean.

When tectonic plates move apart and mantle material flows into the divergence zone, a humid and warm environment that favors the creation of magma. This magma rises and solidifies at the surface, producing volcanic rocks and expanding the oceanic crust.

These formations are fascinating phenomena in geology which are called mid-ocean ridges.

Thanks to investigations it was discovered that about 200 million years ago, all the continents were united forming a single large continent called Pangea. However, these began to separate and move in different directions due to the movement of tectonic plates, forming the continents that we know to this day.

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