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tectonic plate vacation
Transcript of tectonic plate vacation
By Martha Burket
Today is the first day of your fun-filled tectonics related vacation! You will be driving 15 hours and 39 minutes to see Yellowstone National Park. On your long drive you can listen to the book "Lost in my Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park." It recounts the adventures of Tim Cahill (author) in Yellowstone.
You arrive in Yellowstone today. Here are some fun facts about Yellowstone.
Because Yellowstone is over a hot spot it has geysers, hot springs, and bubbling mud.
It has had three large volcanic eruptions in the last 2 million years.
It has been active for 15 million years.
What is a hot spot?
A hot spot is a place under Earth's crust where the
A hot spot is a place where heated rock rises in thin columns (or plumes). As crust moves over the hot spot volcanoes form because the plume's heat melts some of the rock above it. Hot spots are a useful way to track plate movement because they are fixed in one place. As crust moves over hot spots a chain of volcanoes forms, so you can see the direction and speed of plate movement.
Today you will be driving 17 hours and 46 minutes to the Rio Grande river. The Rio Grande river is an example of a divergent boundary. To pass time you can listen to the audio book "Divergent."
Today you get to visit the Rio Grande river. The Rio Grande river runs from Chihuahua, Mexico to Leadville, Colorado. It runs through the rift of a divergent boundary.
In a divergent boundary two different continental plates are moving apart. Though they are usually in the ocean (where they are called spreading centers) they can sometimes occur on land. On land rift valleys form as the continent splits apart. If the valley goes below sea level water fills it.
Today you will be driving 19 hours and 33 hours to visit the San Andreas fault in California. You can pass the time and become more educated about earthquakes by listening to earthquake related podcasts made by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Today you will be visiting the San Andreas fault. The fault runs from the northern end of the Gulf of California to the western part of California. It has caused occasional earthquakes in this region. It is an example of a transform boundary, where two plates are sliding past each other.
At transform boundaries two tectonic plates slide past each other. In this type of plate boundary no crust is destroyed or created. Transform boundaries are primarily found under the sea, but (like the San Andreas Fault) some transform boundaries are on land. At the San Andreas Fault the Pacific plate and portions of the North American plate are sliding past each other.
After driving 3 hours and 2 minutes you will arrive at the California Academy of Science's earthquake museum. At the museum you can do a number of fun and educational things.
You can go through a 3D model of the earth's layers.
You can see how you can tell the makeup of the inner earth by earthquake waves.
You can be in a simulation of an earthquake.
You can play a game to learn about Pangaea.
Pangaea and the Theory of Continental Drift
In the later part of the 1800s a man named Alfred Wegener used evidence from fossils, the climate, and geology to hypothesize that at one point in earth's history all of the continents were connected to form a super continent (called Pangaea). Wegener's theories were proved correct in the mid-1900s using the theory of plate tectonics. This theory states that earth's crust is made up of tectonic plates that slowly move over earth's surface.
Today you will be driving 11 hours and 11 minutes to visit the Cascade mountain range in British Columbia.
Fun (mountain related) songs to listen to:
On Top of Old Smokey
Big Rock Candy Mountain (by Harry McClintock)
Elevation (by U2)
On Top of the World (by Imagine Dragons)
The Climb (by Miley Cyrus)
Ain't No Mountain High Enough (by Nickolas Ashford)
Skiing (or snowboarding) Day!
Today you will get the opportunity to snowboard or ski on the back country trails of the Cascade Mountains. The Cascade Mountains go from Lassen Peak (in Northern California) to the Fraser River in British Columbia. The Cascade Mountains are coastal mountains and most of their summits are volcanoes.
Coastal mountains are the result of oceanic-continental subduction. They are formed when the oceanic crust sinks under the continental crust. This causes the crust to buckle which forms mountains. The coastal mountains run parallel to the place where the crust is being subducted.
Today you will be flying on an airplane from British Columbia in Canada to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. To entertain yourself you can watch episode 74 of Bill Nye the Science Guy about volcanoes.
Today you will visit the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. They are an example of island arcs. These islands have 14 large islands and around 55 smaller islands. Most of these islands formed from volcanoes, and some of the volcanoes are still active. They are part of the ring of fire.
Island arcs are the result of oceanic-oceanic subduction. They form parallel to the deep sea trench caused by the subduction. They are volcanic. They form as the plate that is being subducted melts. The magma rises through the crust and forms volcanoes.
Today you will be flying on an airplane from the Aleutian Islands to Hawaii! To further educate yourself on volcanoes I suggest watching the Magic School Bus episode about volcanoes. You could also read the Magic Tree House book called Vacation Under the Volcano.
Today you will start your vacation in Hawaii by visiting the Kilauea volcano. This volcano is called "the worlds only drive-in volcano" because you can drive up to the volcano and watch the lava flow. This volcano produces 250,000-650,000 cubic yards of lava per day.
Today you will get the chance to learn more about volcanoes at the Thomas A. Jagger Museum. This museum is named after Thomas A. Jagger, who was one of the first to study the Kilauea volcano. The museum includes geologic displays and videos about volcanoes.
In your final day in Hawaii you will be visiting the Thurston lava tube. This tube formed when the underground chamber of lava feeding a volcano drained. The cave is 500 years old.
Today you will be flying from Hawaii to Japan. You can help people in Japan recover from the devastating tsunami that hit their country by donating to them on an online donation website.
The islands of Japan were formed by oceanic-oceanic subduction. They are a part of 5 volcanic arcs.
Today you will be flying on another airplane. You will be going from Japan to the Himalayan mountains. To pass time you can read the book "Into Thin Air." This book is about a mountaineering expedition on Mount Everest (it's a sad book, you will need tissues).
Today you will get to explore the Himalayan mountains. These mountains formed as a result of converging boundaries. Mount Everest (a mountain in this mountain range) is the highest mountain on land. It is an example of a reverse fault.
Reverse faults generally occur near convergent boundaries. In a reverse fault the higher block is moving up while the lower block is moving down.
Today you will be flying from the Himalayas to the Red Sea. To amuse yourself you can get the app called "Tectonic." In this app you can learn about recent earthquakes.
The Red Sea is an example of a divergent boundary that has sunk so low that is has been filled up by water. It was formed as the Arabian peninsula and the African peninsula spread apart.
Today you will be taking a plane ride from the Great Rift Valley of Africa to Iceland. You will be flying over Mount Etna, which has been erupting since September 3, 2013. To educate yourself on this volcano you can read the book "Mount Etna: The Anatomy of a Volcano."
Today (and part of tomorrow) you will be driving 28 hours to visit the Great Rift Valley of Africa.
Today you will be viewing the Great Rift Valley of Africa. It is an example of a normal fault. Along the fault there are many active or semi-active volcanoes.
Like a reverse fault, in a normal fault the higher block is moving up while the lower block is moving down. However, a normal fault is caused by rocks pulling apart, not smashing together.
Today you will go to the Eldfjallasafn Volcano museum. This museum has a large diversity of exhibits. You can see volcano related art and learn about the impact of volcanoes. They also have an exhibit of volcanic rock.
Today you can visit the divergent boundary that runs through Iceland. It is rare because it is a divergent boundary that is above sea level. It was formed when volcanic material rose above sea level. Because it has a boundary running through it, Iceland experiences many volcanoes and earthquakes.
Today you will be flying from Iceland to the Andes mountains.
Today you will be visiting the Andes mountains, which are located in South America. They stretch 4,500 miles. They were formed by a convergent boundary.
Today is one of the last days of your vacation. You will be flying from the Andes mountains to the Appalachian mountains.
Today you will see the Appalachian mountains, which used to be a convergent boundary. You can tell this because of the deformed and folded rocks. An interesting thing about the Appalachian mountains is that the rocks there are the same type and age as the rocks in northwest Africa. This shows that the mountains were formed upon the collision of the North American plate and the the African and Eurasian plate.
At convergent boundaries two tectonic plates crash together. In a continental-continental convergent boundary neither plate subducts and the edges of the plate crumple and fold and form mountains.
"Earthquake Exhibit." CalAcademy. California Academy of Sciences, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Cascade Range (mountains, United States)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Dec. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Island Arc." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
ETE Team. "Earth Floor: Plate Tectonics." Earth Floor: Plate Tectonics. Wheeling Jesuit University/NASA-supported Classroom of the Future, 2004. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
ETE Team. "What Is the Rift Valley." Rift Valley Fever. Exploring the Environment, 28 Apr. 2005. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
Genyuk, Julia. "The Andes Mountains." Windows to the Universe. National Earth Science Teachers Association, 17 Nov. 2008. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
"Plate Tectonics." National Geographic. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.