How do Scientists Determine the Boundaries of Earth’s Plates?

 

Name:  ______________________________________                    Hour:  _________

 

Background

Scientists discovered that when the locations of earthquakes were plotted on a world map, these locations occurred in a pattern, or variety of patterns.  These patterns led scientists to believe that the earth’s crust is divided into different sections, or plates.  The theory of plate tectonics states that the earth’s lithosphere is broken into moving plates.  Six of the seven major continental plates are named for the continent where they are located.  The seventh plate, the Nazca Plate, is located between the South American plate and Pacific plate.  The three types of plate boundaries – divergent, convergent, and transform – describe how two plates move relative to one another.  By plotting the locations of earthquakes, scientists have not only been able to locate plate boundaries but have also been able to determine plate characteristics and predict movement of the plates.  In this investigation, you will plot the locations of earthquakes and determine the boundaries of the earth’s plates.  You will also study the directions in which various plates move. 

 

Objectives

After completing this investigation, you will be able to:

 

Procedure

A.  Following is a list of geographic coordinates of earthquakes.  Plot the location of each earthquake on the map by placing a dot where the longitude and latitude coordinates intersect. 

Latitude

Longitude

Latitude

Longitude

75 N

0

30 S

20 W

70 N

15 W

40 S

28 W

60 N

29 W

45 S

30 W

55 N

30 W

55 S

40 W

45 N

40 W

60 S

60 W

35 N

40 W

40 S

90 W

20 N

40 W

35 S

120 W

15 N

30 W

45 S

135 W

0

20 W

50 S

150 W

15 S

20 W

 

 

 

  1. After you have plotted the coordinates, connect them to form curved line.

 

 

 

 

C.  Plot the following coordinates and then connect the dots. 

Latitude

Longitude

Latitude

Longitude

35 N

30 W

5 N

60 E

35 N

10 W

10 S

70 E

35 N

0

30 S

45 E

35 N

15 E

48 S

30 E

30 N

30 E

50 S

0

25 N

40 E

47 S

20 W

10 N

45 E

 

 

 

D.  Plot the following coordinates and then connect the dots.

Latitude

Longitude

15 N

55 W

15 N

65 W

15 N

75 W

 

E.  Plot the following coordinates and then connect the dots.

Latitude

Longitude

Latitude

Longitude

50 N

170 W

15 N

90 W

55 N

150 W

5 N

75 W

45 N

125 W

15 S

70 W

30 N

115 W

30 S

75 W

20 N

105 W

45 S

75 W

 

F.  Plot the following coordinates and then connect the dots.

Latitude

Longitude

Latitude

Longitude

60 N

180 E

30 S

165 E

55 N

150 E

50 S

160 E

45 N

130 E

55 S

135 E

30 N

125 E

50 S

110 E

15 N

120 E

40 S

80 E

0

120 E

20 S

75 E

10 S

135 E

15 S

65 E

15 S

160 E

 

 

 







G.  Plot the following coordinates and then connect the dots.

Latitude

Longitude

30 N

45 E

30 N

60 E

30 N

75 E

20 N

90 E

15 N

95 E

0

105 E

5 S

120 E

 

  1. Look at the map you just completed.  What do the lines represent?
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H.  Listed below are six of the seven major continental plates that scientists have identified.  Write the names of the following continental plates in the proper places on your map.  The seventh major plate, the Nazca plate, has been identified for you. 
North American Plate               South American Plate               African Plate
Eurasian Plate                           Indo-Australian Plate                Antarctic Plate

I.  Plate boundaries move in different directions.  The movement of two plates creates natural formations.  Study the diagrams below.  Note that three of the views are cross sections while one is an overhead view. 
2.  Study your map.  What landform might be illustrated in diagram B?
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3.  What space might be illustrated in diagram C? ___________________________

4.  What deep part of the sea floor might be illustrated by diagram A? _____________

5.  What type of boundary is illustrated in diagram D? __________________________


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusions

1.  How have earthquakes helped geologists identify major plates on earth?

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2.  Why is knowing the location of plate boundaries important?

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3.  What might occur as a result of the sliding boundaries illustrated in diagram D?

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