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Plate Tectonics Project

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Alex Proskiw

on 29 October 2013

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Transcript of Plate Tectonics Project

The Hawaiian Islands
Hot Spots

A hot spot is a unique tectonic process which does not involve two plates. Rather than occurring by the edge of a plate, hot spots form at the interior where at least one of the following occurs:
a) the crust is thin or weak,
b) there is an extremely hot area of magma
At the location where one or both of these things happen, the magma breaks through the crust.
Perhaps one of the world's best known hotspots is Hawaii

This chain of islands has been created as the pacific plate moves northwest, where it passes over a hot spot in the middle of the pacific ocean.
Because the pacific plate is underwater, the magma oozes out, but cools very quickly. As magma continues rising through this hole, it forms undersea volcanoes. In some cases, these volcanoes grow large enough to extend above the surface of the water, forming islands.

The important thing to remember is that hot spots, and the land formations they make, are not a result of subduction, diverging plates, or transform boundaries
This picture clearly shows the island volcanoes created by the Hawaiian hot spot. Just picture how magma continually built up and up over millions of years until these land masses just emerged from the ocean. You can also see the definite trend in the angle (top left corner to bottom right) that the islands are created in as the Pacific Plate moves one direction.

The interesting thing is that this process is still occurring, with Loihi expected to be the next island
As already mentioned, the Hawaiian Islands are just a chain of volcanoes created by a hot spot.
The most prominent type of volcano in the Hawaiian Islands are shield volcanoes. They gain their name from their relatively slow, gentle rising hills. From the side, this gives them the appearance of a shield.
Instead of large eruptions, low viscosity magma oozes out of shield volcanoes, and spreads out along the long wide base. This runny magma travels far, and as it cools, it gradually builds up evenly over long distances. This makes the volcano wider and larger, but not any steeper.
At one point, each island was, or had many active volcanoes. Hawaii consists of five major volcanoes; Kohala, Hualalai, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea. Now, only two of these are still active. They are:
Mauna Loa
Kilauea
It is not by chance that these two volcanoes are the furthest southeast on the island of Hawaii, which puts them the closest to the hot spot.

Also present at Hawaii, a result of the Shield Volcanoes, is a'a lava, and the fun to say pahoehoe lava. This has a distinct ropy shape caused by hardening on top of the flowing lava, but continued movement underneath.
Pahoehoe Lava
Volcanic and Earthquake History

Due to its unique location in the middle of the Pacific Plate, Hawaii experiences very little in the way of earthquakes, as it is not near the edges where plates interact.
There have only been two earthquakes over magnitude 7 in recent history, both of which resulted in deaths. They were:

April 3, 1868 Magnitude 7.9 77 deaths
November 29, 1975 Magnitude 7.2 2 deaths


Unlike earthquakes, Hawaii experiences lots of volcanic activity. This is thanks to its unique location over a hot spot, where magma rises to the surface and escapes through the shield volcanoes. However, this does not result in large eruptions where mountains blow their tops. Instead, there are lava fountains and flows, where the magma escapes from the ground and pours away from the vent. Because of this, their have been no major eruptions causing mass loss of life or property. One notable eruption was on January 3, 1983, which triggered a seemingly continuous series of smaller eruptions. Since then, over 200 homes have been buried, including the town of Kalapana in 1990. In addition, there has also been several unfortunate deaths caused by accidents around fresh lava.
Plate Tectonics Project
By: Alex Proskiw

As can be seen, the Pacific Plate is forming subduction zones with the North American Plate and Philippine Plate. In turn, these are converging on the Eurasian Plate. All of these boundaries come together to give Japan its unique shape and landscape.
Japan is volcanic island arc in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of China, part of the "Ring of Fire" (so called because of the large number of volcanoes around the pacific rim). It was created by a number of convergent plate boundaries, and the volcanic activity that comes as a result. Unlike other boundaries only involving two plates, Japan involves many.
Japan was created by converging plate boundaries where oceanic plates slide beneath continental plates.
The reason for this is because the oceanic plates are younger, heavier and denser than the comparatively older and lighter continental plates. As a result, they get pushed under. This occurs:
where the Pacific Plate collides with the North American Plate
at the Philippine and Eurasian Plate boundary
In both of these cases, the denser oceanic plate slides under and into the asthenosphere. At this point, the extreme temperatures melt the plate, turning it into magma. Some of this magma escapes up through the lithosphere, and breaks through the crust. This magma adds to the crust, and over time builds up and up until it pokes through the ocean surface. The result is a volcanic island arc.
Also a result of the tectonic processes are earthquakes. These are caused as plates rub and collide against each other, releasing massive buildups of energy. Often a result of earthquakes are tsunamis, which have caused massive damage and account for large numbers of deaths associated with earthquakes. Below is a timeline of devastating earthquakes and volcanoes in recent japanese history.

Earthquakes:
December 31, 1703 Magnitude ~8 Village of Edo destroyed, 150,000 dead
November 11, 1855 Magnitude 7.3 Struck Tokyo, 16-20,000 dead
September 1, 1923 Magnitude 7.9 The Great Kanto Earthquake, killed around 100,000 people thanks to collapsing buildings and tsunamis
January 17, 1995 Magnitude 7.2 Hit Kobe, 6,000 dead and 300,000 homeless
March 11, 2011 Magnitude 8.9 Strongest recorded Japanese earthquake, the resulting Tsunami killed 20,000 people and caused a nuclear reactor failure

Volcanoes: Despite the large number of Volcanoes, Japan has been relatively lucky. For the most part, there have only been small eruptions over the years that have killed a few people here and there. Although we know that Mt. Fuji and Oshima-Oshima previously erupted, their is little evidence to what damage was caused by these. The only major recorded event was:
May 21, 1792 - Mt. Mayuyama, a lava dome, collapsed and triggered a landslide which destroyed Shimabara City and caused a tsunami when the landslide reached the ocean. Combined, it killed nearly 15,000 people and destroyed a city.
Much like Hawaii, Japan is made up of many islands that are actually volcanoes
Unlike Hawaii, Japan contains 10 % of the world's active volcanoes.
Three of the four major islands of Japan are composed of numerous volcanoes. They are Honshu, Kyushu, and Hokkaido.
Only Shikoku island has no volcanoes. That is not to say it will, or hasn't in the past. But at the moment, there are no active or dormant volcanoes.
Japanese Volcanoes:

Japan currently experiences an average of 10 volcanic eruptions per year. With such strong volcanic and tectonic processes, it is no surprise that Japan is home to some of the world's best known, biggest, and dangerous volcanoes. Some dormant ones include Mt. Fuji, which last erupted in 1707, and Oshima-Oshima, which erupted in 1741 and killed 1500 people. Some active volcanoes include Unzen, Sakura-Jima, Mount Aso, and Mount Kirishima.
Sakura-Jima volcano:

Currently considered one of Japan's, and the world's, most active and potentially dangerous volcanoes. It is just across the bay from Kagoshima city, with a population of around a million people.
Type of Volcanoes:

Most of Japan's volcanoes are known as composite volcanoes. These are built up from layers of ash and lava from multiple explosions, forming tall mountains which have a tenancy to blow their tops.







As boring as the diagrams are, composite volcanoes often look better in real life.
Japan
The biggest geographical feature on the west coast of South America is the Andes Mountain range. It is one of the world's tallest and longest mountain ranges.
Found at the boundary of the South American and Nazca Plate, this is a classic case of a converging boundary resulting in a subduction zone. The oceanic Nazca plate and continental South American plate move towards each other, and as they collide, the lighter continental plate rides up and over the denser Nazca plate, forcing it down in to the mantle, resulting in the process known as subduction.
Besides volcanoes, another result of subduction zones are earthquakes. Lots of them. They occur partly due to the grinding as the Nazca plate slides against the South American plate. Even more important than this though is the energy released due to the stress put on the plates as they try to resist this movement. When this pressure becomes too large, it shows itself in the form of very violent earthquakes.
Almost all of the volcanoes in South America are located on the western side as part of the Andes mountain range. The good thing is that there have been very few large eruptions that have caused major damage, as they happen far up in the mountains away from civilization. If not for today's technology in satellite imagery and tectonic monitoring, it would be quite possible for numerous eruptions to go unnoticed.
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"Based on this planet's history of tectonic activity, where do you think the 'best' place to live on this planet might be?"

In order to answer this question, this presentation will look at eight different locations and the tectonic processes associated with each. These are:

1. Hawaii
2. Japan
3. South America (West Coast)
4. Iceland
5. Himalayas
6. North America (West Coast)
7. African Rift Valley
8. San Andreas Fault

By the end of this presentation, after analyzing the unique features of each place and their history of tectonic activity, we will discover the best place to live on this planet.

So, without further ado...
Image 8
Bibliography:

Image 1 -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hawaje-NoRedLine.jpg
Image 2 -
http://www.marinebio.net/marinescience/02ocean/hwgeo.htm
Image 3 -
http://beautiful-travellingplaces.blogspot.ca/2012/12/hawaii.html
Image 4 -
http://jonjosvolcanoes.weebly.com/shield-volcanoes.html
Image 5 -
http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/maunaloa/4303062_L.jpg
Image 6 -
http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/gallery/kilauea/erupt/2553037_L.jpg
Image 7 -
http://www.solarviews.com/cap/volc/pahoe1.htm
Image 8 -
http://pacificislandparks.com/2013/01/11/kilaueas-current-eruption-is-a-natural-laboratory-for-volcanologists/

Websites:
http://www.marinebio.net/marinescience/02ocean/hwgeo.htm
http://geology.com/usgs/hawaiian-hot-spot/
http://www.khanacademy.org/science/cosmology-and-astronomy/earth-history-topic/plate-techtonics/v/hawaiian-islands-formation
http://www.solarviews.com/eng/hawaii.htm
http://gohawaii.about.com/cs/volcanoes/a/kilauea_20years.htm

World Map -
http://www.zonu.com/images/0X0/2009-11-04-10810/World-satellite-map.png
Image 7
Bibliography:

Image 1
- http://www.glgarcs.net/intro/subduction.html
Image 2
- http://www.geol.umd.edu/~lsschlei/CoolGeologyLinks/Tectonics_Website/ScotiaArc.htm
Image 3
- http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/sakurajima.html
Image 4
- http://imet.csus.edu/imet8/martin/PSElements/image/VolcanoDiagram.jpg
Image 5
- http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2172.html

Websites:
http://www.glgarcs.net/intro/subduction.html
http://volcanolive.com/japan.html
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/famous-volcanoes-in-japan.html
http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/Imgs/Jpg/Unzen/MayuyamaSlide_caption.html
http://historyofgeology.fieldofscience.com/2011/03/historic-earthquakes-in-japan.html
Image 1
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Image 5
The crumpling as these plates collide has helped create the Andes mountain range, which is an example of fold mountains
fold mountains are named due to how the land literally folds under the pressure exerted by the two plates, giving the rugged, jagged mountain ranges their shape.
In addition, the melting of the Nazca plate as it descends contributes to building up these mountains even higher, as the magma seeps up to the surface and creates volcanoes amongst the mountains.
Most Volcanoes in the Andes mountain range are composite volcanoes, built up by layer after layer of ash and lava. With steep mountain-like sides, but spanning a very large area, composite volcanoes are arguably the most impressive looking volcanoes. Their extreme heights often leave them capped with snow. Created along subduction zones, South America has its fair share of them.
Some of the active volcanoes in Western South America right now, spread throughout Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina are:
- Lascar, Ubinus, Sabancaya, Laguna del Maule, Villarrica, and Copahue, which earlier this year caused evacuation when it threatened to blow.

Extinct volcanoes offer amazing chances to go for hikes and enjoy the views. Some examples of these are:
- Osorno and El Misti
Tectonic History:
With everything mentioned so far, it should come as no surprise that South America has experienced its fair share of Volcanoes and Earthquakes. So here they are.
Earthquakes:
August 17, 1906 ----- Magnitude 8.4 ----- Hit Chile and destroyed Valparaiso, caused 4,000 deaths and $100 million in damages
May 22, 1960 -----Magnitude 9.5----- Known as the "Great Chilean Earthquake", it's the biggest earthquake in the world. roughly 2000 deaths in Chile and $550 million in damages. The following Tsunami reached as far as Japan and the Philippines and caused deaths and damage there as well.
May 31, 1970 ----- Magnitude 7.9 ----- Struck Peru, killed 66,000, destroyed village of Ranrahirca, hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage

Volcanoes:
February 19, 1600 ----- Huaynaputina in Peru exploded in the largest ever eruption in South America. Besides the immediate deaths and villages destroyed, the ash and clouds affected the world, possibly harming agriculture as far away as Russia.
June 5, 2011 ----- When Puyehue erupted in Chile and spewed ash everywhere, flights were canceled for days as the air around Brazil was too dangerous to fly in
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5
Bibliography:

Image 1 - http://www.greenpacks.org/2008/06/06/the-andes-mountains-to-double-their-height-in-4-million-years/
Image 2 - http://www.tectonic-forces.org/pt13.htm
Image 3 - http://news.southamerica.travel/amazing-volcano-tours-south-america/
Image 4 - http://www.geo.cornell.edu/geology/faculty/RWA/research/current_research/chile-m-88-earthquake-page/history-of-megathrust-earth.html
Image 5 - http://phys.org/news/2011-06-volcanic-ash-cloud-disrupts-south.html

Websites:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/poster/regions/nazca.php
http://www.extremescience.com/plate-boundaries.htm
http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/vwdocs/vwlessons/volcano_types/arc.htm
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/events/1960_05_22.php
http://gosouthamerica.about.com/od/earthquakes/a/earthquakes.htm
http://earthquakes.findthedata.org/l/2542/Chile-South-Central
http://phys.org/news/2011-06-volcanic-ash-cloud-disrupts-south.html
http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/04/perus-huaynaputina-eruption-of-1600-had-worldwide-impact.html
Iceland is a landmass located directly on top of the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
The addition of a hot spot/lava plume underneath of Iceland allowed it to rise out of the ocean millions years ago.
Essentially a large volcanic landmass, Iceland was created completely by magma rising out of the ridge.
Iceland has many volcanoes on it, and its height above the seafloor differs it from all of the other underwater volcanoes along the ridge.
Because it is located directly above the ridge, Iceland is split in half and being constantly pushed apart, a result of the divergent plate boundary.
A diver explores the mid-Atlantic fault in the waters below Iceland
In summary, the uprising magma pushes the two plates apart and in the process, adds new crust to the plates. Thus we have the creation of a mid-ocean ridge.
Iceland
Divergent Boundary

Fun Facts:

Iceland has earned the nickname "the Land of
Ice
and
Fire
". This is due to the fact that it is so far North that it should be completely covered in ice, much like neighboring Greenland. However, thanks to the magma underneath of it and volcanic eruptions, Iceland is a mix of ice and numerous thawed areas

The magma warms up pools of water, making natural hot springs

If the current tectonic processes continue, eventually Iceland will break apart
The Mid-Atlantic ridge is created by the separation of the North American and Eurasian plates, forming a
divergent boundary.
The following video illustrates what occurs at this underwater boundary.
As can be seen by the red triangles, most of Iceland's volcanoes occur along the ridge. This is due to the fact that this is where the magma is actively rising to the surface.

The majority of these volcanoes are composite, meaning that they were built up by layers of ash and lava. With long, mountain-like sides, these volcanoes can look very intimidating. Some of these active volcanoes are: Hekla, Katla and Grimsvotn.

Other volcanic activity includes fissure eruptions (where lava spurts up through long cracks in the ground), lava fountains, geysers, and Surtseyan eruptions, which got their name from the island that was formed in the video.
This is the island of Surtsey being formed back in 1963. Iceland would have looked similar when it first emerged out of the ocean.
In terms of tectonic history and the potential for disasters, Iceland has fared very well. Other than helping to reshape the land, earthquakes and volcanoes have caused little damage to residents, or been large disasters in scale anyways.

In the last 13 years, they have only had two big earthquakes. On May 29 2008, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake caused some injuries and sheep deaths. In June 2000, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake caused minor injuries and damage to buildings, but once again, no deaths. Prior to these two earthquakes, Iceland had seen very little activity for around a hundred years.

The amazing thing is that there are very little traces of large volcanoes that caused massive damage, despite the amount of volcanic activity occurring. This suggests that most of these eruptions are relatively harmless, which kind of makes sense. If things continually let out lava, there is no build-up to cause massive eruptions.

One good example of a devastating volcano in Iceland was the Laki eruption in 1783-84. It lasted for almost a year, and released large amounts of lava and harmful gases such as sulphur dioxide and fluoride. These gases poisoned food, water, animals and even people. Although people did die quickly from this, even worse was the lasting famine brought on by the ruined plants and livestock. You could either starve, or eat food but potentially get sick and die anyways. Needless to say, it would not have been a fun winter. This eruption also affected the world. The large amounts of gases released contributed to a haze which cooled the earth for the next year.
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Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Bibliography:

Image 1 -
http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/understanding.html
Image 2
- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1385589/The-growing-gap-Eurasia-North-American-tectonic-plates.html

Video 1
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q4Yqctq6nE
Video 2
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF6z_bUapIg
Video 3
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTd1CVusJ50
Video 4
- www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghl33n26d44

Info
http://www.decodedscience.com/tectonic-processes-cause-icelands-volcanism/524
http://iceland.vefur.is/iceland_nature/geology_of_iceland/
http://juliatectonicplateadventure.blogspot.ca/2013/05/divergent-fault-line-iceland.html
http://www.eldey.de/English/geology/geology.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8623239.stm
http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/skyrslur/June17and21_2000/index.html
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/06/local-and-global-impacts-1793-laki-eruption-iceland/
60 million years ago, the Indo-Australian Plate and Eurasian Plate collided. Both continental plates, they don't form subduction zone like an oceanic plate would. Instead, they formed a continental-continental convergent plate boundary. It is interesting to note that continental plates are old, but of greater importance, light. This means that neither one sinks under the weight of the other when they collide. It also means that they won`t sink into the denser mantle below. Therefore, when they collide they both crumple and fold, the sheer forces involved distorting the rock and forcing it high into the sky. The result is known as fold mountains, which rise up and can fold over each other, forming the jagged peaks we see that make up the Himalayan mountain range.
The Himalayas
An immense mountain range scarring the landscape, the Himalayas almost 2500 km long.
They contain some of the worlds tallest mountain, boasting names such as Mt. Everest and K2.
The Himalayan mountains are arguably one of the largest and most intimidating mountain ranges on the face of this planet. Climbers from all around the world challenge the extreme slopes and high altitudes found here.
Now, despite the large number of mountains, the Himalayas have hardly any volcanoes at all. This is due to the unique tectonic processes occurring.
Because neither plate sinks into the mantle due to their composition and weight, neither of them melts.
The oceanic edges of the continental plates may dive down into the mantle and break off, causing an extremely small amount of volcanic activity as they melt.
Overall though, very little magma makes its way to the surface.
Thus, we have the creation of a large mountain range as the plates bend and fold, but with hardly any volcanic activity
One Volcanic group in the Himalayas are the Kunlun mountains. They consist of around 70 cinder cones, known for large eruptions of ash. Built up by alternating layers of this ash and cinder, they aren't all that large compared to composite volcanoes. Instead, they have very steep, sharp sides leading to a small vent.
As for its history of tectonic activity, there has been very little in the way of volcanic eruptions in the Himalayas. One eruption of the Kunlun cinder cones was on May 27, 1951. All that occurred was that it spewed lava for a short period of time, and then emitted ash for a few days. Besides, even if there was to be a large eruption, it would cause little damage as the area is sparsely populated and away from any major cities.

Earthquakes however, are a totally different story. Due to the two plates crashing and grinding into each other, seismic activity is generated in varying degrees. Below are some of the most recent and accurately recorded ones.

August 26, 1833 ----- Magnitude 7.7 ----- 414 dead, 172 injured, and around 4000 buildings destroyed in Kathmandu
June 12, 1897 ----- Magnitude > 8 ----- Hit Northern India, 1500 dead
April 4, 1905 ----- Magnitude 7.8 ----- 20000 people killed in the Kangra Valley in Northwest India
January 15, 1934 ----- Magnitude > 8 ----- 10,000 dead around Nepal
August 15, 1950 ----- Magnitude 8.7 ----- Hit a very sparsely populated area in Northeast India, no real damage
October 20, 1991 ----- Magnitude 6.6 ----- 800 dead and wrecked around 50,000 homes
October 8, 2005 ----- Magnitude 7.6 -----"The Kashmir Earthquake", close to the city of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Kashmir. Around 100,000 people died, many more were injured, and roughly 800,000 buildings were destroyed.
Video 1
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Video 2
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Video 3
Bibliography:

Image 1 - http://www.unitedplanet.org/gallery/main.php/v/Nepal/ronald/The+Himalayas.jpg.html
Image 2 - http://www.geography-site.co.uk/pages/physical/earth/plate%20boundaries.html
Image 3 - http://wondrouspics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/paricutin.jpg

Video 1 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuSHOQ6gv5Y
Video 2 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPpfePgc5w8
Video 3 - www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xbjoJ_g6v0

Information:
http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/fold-mountain/?ar_a=1
http://www.geography-site.co.uk/pages/physical/earth/plate%20boundaries.html
http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/volcanoes/vlocation1.html
http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/kunlun.html
http://www.himalayanclub.org/journal/the-great-himalayan-earthquakes/
https://www.eeri.org/lfe/pdf/kashmir_eeri_2nd_report.pdf
This boundary creates a few unique landforms. They are the Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountain range, and the Aleutian islands.

The Rockies were created over a 100 million years ago by the collision of the old oceanic Pacific Plate and continental North American Plate. In addition to the subduction that was occurring, the land masses on top of the old Pacific Plate were pushed against the North American plate, colliding and forming fold mountains. These don't look like volcanic mountains you would find in the Cascade Range. Instead, they are steep, sheer rocky faces that jut out from the land below. This also explains why there are no volcanoes in the Rocky Mountains.







Although the Cascades were created in a similar way (the collision of plates), the folding was not as dramatic as the Rockies, perhaps due to lack of landmasses on the plate at this period of time. However, the Cascades grew because they also involve volcanic activity. With much more subduction occurring than with the Rockies, the Juan de Fuca plate sank into the mantle and melted, resulting in magma rising to the surface to create composite volcanoes. Therefore, the Cascade range is a mix of volcanic and fold mountains. Some of these volcanoes are world renowned, such as Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier. These composite volcanoes are built up by layers of ash and lava, with steep sides spreading out over many kilometres.










Far north along the ring of fire, where the Pacific plate subducts below the North American one, is the Aleutian Islands. This volcanic island arc strings across from Alaska to Russia. These islands were formed much in the same way as Japan, where magma from the descending plate rises to the surface underwater, and eventually builds up to form composite volcanic islands.
West Coast of North America
The West Coast of North America is a very interesting tectonic boundary. Many things have occurred along this subduction zone over the past 100's of millions of years, giving rise to various mountain ranges and islands. An exception to this is the San Andres transform fault, which will be discussed later.
The predominant tectonic boundary featured along the Western part of North America is a convergent boundary forming a subduction zone. This is between the continental North American plate, and the oceanic Pacific and Juan de Fuca plates. As these two denser plates are forced under the lighter North American plate, they sink into the mantle and heat up. This turns part of them into magma, which rises up to the surface to create volcanoes.
Video 4
Mt. Rainier
Western North America has experienced 2 major volcanoes in recent history. On June 6, 1912, Novarupta volcano in Alaska (part of the Aleutian arc), exploded even more powerfully than Mt. Saint Helens. Thankfully, it was in a remote location and no one was killed. If it had been further south, thousands could have been dead. Nevertheless, ash from the explosion reached as far as Africa.











Then we have Mt. Saint Helens. On May 18, 1980, this stratovolcano erupted.
As for earthquakes, those too are fairly common. Back in 1700, a magnitude 9 earthquake along the Cascadia fault gave a good picture of what we could expect over the next couple hundred years. This earthquake destroyed houses, caused various landslides and generated a large tsunami which caused further damage. Despite its large size, this one could have been a lot worse. It is another earthquake like this that scientists are currently claiming is overdue along the West coast, only much worse. Since then, there have been various rumblings.
June 23, 1946 ----- Magnitude 7.3 ----- On Vancouver Island, only 2 dead but lots of property damage
August 22, 1949 ----- Magnitude 8.2 ----- Queen Charlotte Islands, no deaths but was felt in Prince Rupert
March 27, 1964 ----- Magnitude 9.2 ----- 131 dead and some buildings destroyed, mostly due to the following tsunami. It was in an isolated area thankfully
October 28, 2012 ----- Magnitude 7.7 ----- Hit near Queen Charlotte, felt in Prince Rupert and as far away as Prince George
Image 1
Video 1
Image 2
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Image 4
Video 2
Bibliography:

Video 1 -

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJk9cFz152s
Video 2 -

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H_HZVY1tT4

Image 1 -
http://paradiseintheworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/rocky-mountains.jpg
Image 2 -
http://www.burkemuseum.org/static/geo_history_wa/Cascade%20Episode_files/image004.gif
Image 3 -
http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4950960298918731&pid=1.7
Image 4 -
http://www.ieatgravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Islands_of_Four_Mountains.jpg

Info:
http://www.burkemuseum.org/static/geo_history_wa/Cascade%20Episode.htm
http://www.mountainnature.com/Geology/platetectonics.htm
http://www.sjvgeology.org/geology/tectonics.html
http://whatonearth.olehnielsen.dk/plates/farallon.asp
http://www.rockcollector.co.uk/editorial0610.htm
https://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/alaskas-biggest-volcanic-eruptions
http://www.earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca/histor/15-19th-eme/1700/1700-eng.php
http://www.aeic.alaska.edu/quakes/Alaska_1964_earthquake.html
http://commons.bcit.ca/civil/students/earthquakes/unit1_02.htm

The formation of a rift valley is essentially the first step in creating a divergent boundary. Instead of two plates being pushed apart, it starts as only one plate. In this case, this is the continental African plate. Under the eastern side of this plate is a hot spot or magma plume in the mantle. This pushes large amounts of extremely hot magma against the bottom of this continental plate, pushing it upwards and creating cracks along the surface. (Step A)
As the magma continues to push, the edges of this rise become weaker and weaker. After a period of time, the stress on the weakened continental plate becomes to great, and it breaks apart. As chunks of the crust fall into the fault, a valley, or rift, is created. This is the stage that the African rift Valley is currently in . The magma that was pushing up can now rise into this area, creating volcanic activity. (Step B)
As this rift grows, it gets deeper and deeper until it is below sea level. At this point, water from the nearby coast fills in, creating a long narrow sea. This is how the Red Sea was created. (Step C)
As magma continues to rise, it now creates oceanic crust, which is then pushed outward by more rising magma. This has the effect of breaking the continental plate apart, essentially splitting it in two. When this happens, we have the development of a mid-ocean ridge. This is visible in the Atlantic ocean, where at one point in the past, the mid-Atlantic ridge was actually a solid continental plate. (Step D)
This rift in the earth's surface is most visible in Ethiopia and Kenya, but stretches for over 6000 kilometers into many other African countries, such as Uganda, Congo, Kenya, and Tanzania.
African Rift Valley
The African Rift Valley is a very unique geographical feature on our earth's surface. For the first time in history, it gives scientists a chance to accurately and thoroughly study what happens at this type of divergent boundary.
As the African plate is already beginning to split along this rift, scientists have renamed the African plate into the Nubian and Somalian plates. After enough time, the Somalian plate will be pushed away from the Nubian plate at a mid-ocean ridge, resulting in Africa being split apart with a new ocean where the rift was.
Some of Africa's tallest mountains can be found near the Rift Valley, including Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Large mountain ranges also snake along the different sections of the rift, such as the Virunga mountains, the Mitumba mountains, and the Ruwenzori mountains. Not all of these are volcanoes, but those that are, such as Kilimanjaro and Kenya, are a type known as composite volcanoes. Built up by layers of ash and lava, they have high sloping sides and cover a large area. Although Mt. Kenya is considered extinct, and Kilimanjaro dormant, there are other smaller composite volcanoes that are active. These are being fueled by the magma underneath the African Rift. Some examples of these are Mount Nyiragongo and Ol Doinyo Lengai.

Another type of mountain present along the rift are fault-block mountains. These are steep cliffs and walls of rock created as sections of crust broke off and fell into the rift.
Mt. Kilimanjaro
Ol Doinyo Lengai (Mountain of God)
Block Mountains
Because the African Rift Valley is not a boundary where plates are crashing or rubbing against each other, there is very little in the way of large and damaging earthquakes. There have been numerous smaller earthquakes caused by the fault zone spreading and crust breaking. In recent time, there has been a magnitude 5.5 earthquake on May 18, 2002, which resulted in a few deaths and some houses destroyed. On December 5, 2005, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake killed four people, injured around 30, and destroyed some buildings.

As for volcanoes, there have been a few big eruptions in recent history. In 1966, Ol Doinyo Lengai started a string of eruptions that would last for over a year, releasing large amounts of ash and lava. Mount Nyiragongo has also been very active lately. On January 10, 1977, it released a lava lake that killed under a hundred people and left many more homeless. Since then, there were a few minor eruptions, until January 17, 2002. This eruption resulted in lava flows that killed 147 people in the town of Goma, destroyed thousands of homes, and caused the evacuation of over 500,000 people.
Video 1
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5
Image 6
Image 7
Bibliography:

Video 1 -
www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7Y2R4KBwvo

Image 1 -
http://blue.utb.edu/paullgj/physci1417/Lectures/Continental_Rifting.JPG
Image 2 -
http://www.roebuckclasses.com/maps/physicmap/geomorph/fig18africarift.gif
Image 3 -
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9EKu5RMhSGg/TajWJQVuinI/AAAAAAAAAHM/4IBAyjtWklc/s1600/2africaaaaaa.jpeg
Image 4 -
http://www.gowardhouse.com/ArtShowFile2008-10/MtKilimanjaro.jpg
Image 5 -
http://kenyasafari.dk/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Ol-doinyo-lengai-i-udbrud-med-lava.jpg
Image 6 -
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Fault_block_mountain.JPG
Image 7 -
http://www.mountainprofessor.com/images/yosemite-valley2.jpg

Info:
http://www.roebuckclasses.com/105/regions/seasiaspac/oceania/plateboundaries.htm
http://geology.com/articles/east-africa-rift.shtml
http://www.nomadtours.co.za/page/great-rift-valley/
http://www.agiweb.org/geotimes/feb06/WebExtra022406.html
http://earthquakes.findthedata.org/l/4996/Tanzania-Bunda
http://nyiragongo.com/eruptions.html
The San Andreas Fault
The San Andreas fault is an example of a transform boundary, also known as a strike-slip fault. This is where two tectonic plates are moving parallel and rubbing against each other as they move. In this case, these are the Pacific and North American Plates.
The feature most commonly associated with this kind of boundary are earthquakes. As the plates slide past each other at a couple inches per year, the rocky edges grind, producing small tremors. Other times, the plates get stuck, or lock together. This causes stress to build up, and eventually it becomes too much for the plates to handle. When this happens, the plates break free from each other and move larger distances to make up for years of being stationary, releasing energy in the form of an earthquake. The longer that stress was built up, the more devastating the earthquake.
Another feature of a transform boundary is the lack of volcanoes. Because there is no diverging or subduction of plates occurring, there is no melting of crust. In addition, there is no place for magma to rise to the surface, unlike at a mid-ocean ridge or rift valley. Therefore, with the two plates just rubbing past each other, there is no magma near the surface, and no volcanoes are created.
The scary thing about the San Andreas fault is that it cuts across California. This makes it very dangerous is because it runs through a heavily populated area, with urban centers such as now famous San Francisco in harms way. The potential for destruction is extremely large, as can be seen from the earthquakes of 1906 and 1989. The worrisome thing is that neither of these were extremely large earthquakes in terms of magnitude. Whats even scarier is that scientists are predicting, in addition to continued smaller earthquakes, an even larger quake in the future, claiming that it is long overdue.
This boundary creates a visible image on the earth of where the plates meet, such as a rift or tear running straight along the boundary for long distances.

Over time, this movement of the plates in opposite directions has led to the shifting of objects on the surface.
It could happen
As a transform boundary, the San Andreas fault has experienced some rather devastating earthquakes in its history. There have been some major ones in the past two centuries.

1811-1812 ----- A large number of earthquakes were triggered which, although of unknown magnitude, caused lots of shaking over far distances. There was very little in the way of deaths and damages
January 9, 1857 ----- Magnitude 7.9 ----- One of the largest quakes California ever experienced, the shaking lasted for almost 3 minutes. There were only two deaths, and a few buildings were destroyed at Fort Tejon. The low damages can be contributed to the fact that there were few people living in the area at the time.
April 18, 1906 ----- Magnitude 7.7 ----- This earthquake and the following fires devastated the city of San Francisco, destroying 28,000 building and costing $400 million in damages. It also resulted in roughly 700 reported deaths. Some people say that there may have been up to 3,000.
October 17, 1989 ----- Magnitude 6.9 ----- the video shows much of what happened, but in summary, around 60 people were killed, 3800 injured, $8 billion in damages done, and many buildings wrecked. In addition, one major event was when the Bay Bridge collapsed.
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4
Image 5
Image 6
Video 1
Video 2
Bibliography:

Video 1 -
www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtcf_eh3u_4
Video 2 -
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7eABGpOHv8

Image 1 -
http://www.artinaid.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Strike-Slip-Fault.gif
Image 2 -
http://sciencedude.blog.ocregister.com/files/2010/08/sanandreas.jpg
Image 3 -
http://www.bio.georgiasouthern.edu/bio-home/harvey/lect/images/SAFO.jpg
Image 4 -
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3610/3434182006_d7b7d4d129_z.jpg
Image 5 -
http://0.tqn.com/d/geology/1/7/a/P/1/parkfieldsplitsign.jpg
Image 6 -
http://serc.carleton.edu/images/mathyouneed/sanandreas.jpg

Info:
http://geology.com/articles/san-andreas-fault.shtml
http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/earthq3/safaultgip.html
http://jersey.uoregon.edu/~mstrick/AskGeoMan/geoQuerry22.html
http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/164914/
http://www.vibrationdata.com/earthquakes/lomaprieta.htm
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/events/1811_overview.php
http://www.sjvgeology.org/geology/tejon_earthquake.html
Conclusion

Having looked at eight different locations across the globe and analyzing their tectonic processes and history, it is now time to answer the critical challenge question:

"Based on this planet's history of tectonic activity, where do you think the 'best' place to live on this planet might be?"

The short answer:
The

Hawaiian Islands

The long answer:

This question really boils down to the process of elimination. With tectonic activity, there is always danger present, whether in the form of earthquakes and/or volcanoes. Because none of the places examined are completely free of tectonic activity, you are putting yourself in danger living at any of them. (You also put yourself in danger from a million other things the second you step outside your door, but that's beside the point). However, certain characteristics immediately rule out some places, and although it is a close decision,
Hawaii
comes out on top. Here's why.

Earthquakes: Because Hawaii is located at the center of a plate, not the edges, there is very little in the way of earthquakes, other than those generated by volcanic eruptions or other strange reasons. These are often less devastating compared to other locations at plate boundaries. Subduction zones, continental convergence zones, and transform faults all have the potential to produce very dangerous and relatively frequent earthquakes. Hawaii however, is much safer from this threat.
The danger from severe earthquakes rules out the
San Andreas fault
,
Japan
, the
Himalayas
, the West Coast of
South America
, and the West Coast of
North America
. It is also important to note that many of these have histories of extreme volcanic activity.

Volcanoes: Here comes the tricky part. Hawaii has had numerous volcanoes, and still has some active ones (more on this in a bit). So how can this make it the best place? This is due to the type of volcanoes that Hawaii has. Shield volcanoes are formed by the hot spot, and they are unique in the fact that they rarely explode violently. Instead, they tend to constantly ooze lava, which poses much less of a danger than violent eruptions including pyroclastic flows, torrents of lava, rock and debris hurled through the air, and ash burying villages. These features are commonly associated with composite volcanoes, and pose much more of a threat to human life. Due to this, places with numerous composite volcanoes that have been active in the past, are currently active, or may become active can be ruled out.
This includes
Japan
, the
African Rift Valley
, the West Coast of
North America
, the West Coast of
South America
, and to some extent,
Iceland
. This is included because, although there hasn't been any catastrophic eruptions yet, there are a large number of composite volcanoes present, many of which are active.

Location:
Volcanoes:

Earthquakes

Hawaii
Minor

Minor
Japan
Major

Major
South America
Major

Major
North America
Medium

Medium
African Rift
Medium

Medium
Iceland
Medium

Medium
Himalayas Very Little
Major
San Andreas Fault
None

Major
This list helps illustrate my decision. I believe that any place that has a major hazard from one thing, regardless of what else it has, should be ruled out. I wouldn't feel very safe not having to worry about lava, but fearing that my house would get knocked over in a large earthquake. Therefore, in addition to reasons already mentioned, the best balance comes from
Hawaii
.
Finally, I have a few other reasons for choosing the
Hawaiian Islands
.

The only active volcanoes are those located on the southern part of Hawaii, closest to the hotspot. Concerns about these could be alleviated by moving to the North-West portion of the island, or better yet, moving onto Maui, or even further down the chain.
In addition, these islands are constantly moving further away from the hotspot as the pacific plate travels across the asthenosphere. Although it won't happen over the span of my lifetime, the Island of Hawaii will eventually move far enough north that it no longer experiences volcanic activity. Moving away from the hot spot, there is little chance that these volcanoes will become active again in the future, thus getting rid of Hawaii's one major issue.
Over millions of years, these islands will slowly erode away. This is due to the fact that, away from the hot spot, they are no longer being raised up, only worn down. However, new islands will continue to form over the hot spot. This means that my descendants can do a thing called island hopping. When the next island is free from volcanoes, they move from the island they are currently on to the next one. (eg. From Maui to Hawaii once its volcanic activity stops, and from Hawaii to Loihi).
These solutions to Hawaii's volcanic activity leaves the occasional minor earthquake as the only threat. There is also the risk of tsunami's generated by earthquakes, but these often come from far away, and aren't major by the time they hit. If for some reason the waves are big enough to cause any damage, its still better than living near the epicenter that created those waves. Last but not least, if I could live anywhere, then it better be paradise.
Although this analysis does not take into account violent storms and other variables, my choice stands. Based on this planet's history of tectonic activity, the Hawaiian Islands are the best place to live.
satftp.soest.hawaii.edu/space/hawaii/maps/All_Islands_map.710x509.gif
www.whitegadget.com/attachments/pc-wallpapers/70381d1314086814-hawaii-hawaii-pictures.jpg
The End
Full transcript