The drawing over is a cross section of the earth showing the contents that lie within plate tectonic theory (click for bigger version). The overcome section need to really be bent to correspond to the earth"s curvature, but it has actually been straightened the end here. note the continent craton (stable continent) in the middle of the drawing. Note the line under the craton; that is the lower boundary the the lithosphere, and also is the bottom boundary of the plate. Everything over that line is the plate. All comparable lines in the cross section note the bottom that the plates. Technically, everything above that line is lithosphere, the rigid, brittle shell of the earth. Everything listed below is asthenosphere, the hot, plastic internal of the earth with convection cells bringing warmth to the surface ar from the earth"s hot core. In ~ the asthenosphere are convection cells, slowly turning over hot, plastic rock. The convection cells carry heat from the earth"s inner out come the surface, however slowly. Activity is around 10 centimeters a year. Once the convection cell reach the base of the lithosphere castle release warmth to the surface ar at the divergent plate boundary in the type of volcanos come escape come space. The cooled plastic absent then turns sideways and also moves parallel to the earth"s surface prior to descending back into the planet at subduction area to become reheated. That is this turning over of the convection cell the drives the bowl movements. THE PLATESSimplistically, the earth consists of plates, and plate boundaries, those zones wherein the key contact and also interact. Everything in between plate boundaries are component of some plate. A look at the plate borders in the drawing may do plate boundaries show up confusing, yet in fact there are only 3 type of bowl boundaries.Observe the 7 various plates are labeled in the cross section. Plates room combinations of two units, continents and ocean basins. Plates room composed one of two people of a fragment of s basin, or (more commonly) a fragment the ocean basin with an enclosed continent. It might be feasible for a key to it is in a continent alone, yet for this to happen all edge of the continent would need to be a plate boundary (very rare, maybe not practically possible). Keep in mind that in the cross ar several various ocean basin/continent combinations are present, yet that that is complicated to gain a continent surrounding on all edge by bowl boundaries.PLATE BOUNDARIESThe three kinds the plate borders are likewise illustrated in the cross section, divergent, convergent, and also transform. Plates communicate at this boundaries. Two divergent margins (plate boundaries) are existing in the overcome section: one labeled thus to the best of the continent craton, and the various other on the left side. The left divergent margin is labeled earlier Arc (Marginal) Basin. Ago arc basins are created by minor convection cells over subduction zones. Divergent plate boundaries constantly create new ocean floor (that is, new mafic oceanic lithosphere, called the ophiolite suite) once magma oozes right into the crack together plates separate. The implicit is, ocean basins get larger at divergent bowl boundaries. But, because the earth cannot gain larger it way ocean floor must be disappearing somewhere else. 3 convergent boundaries are present, all of them one means or an additional involving a subduction zone. The two most noticeable ones room on the far right, and near the much left. Oceanic lithosphere is descending into the earth"s mantle at this places, and being destroyed. In the continent-continent collision the subduction ar is currently extinct but can it is in seen listed below the surface. Prior to the continents collided they to be separated by an s basin, now completely subducted. Subduction zones generate many igneous magma that rises come the surface ar to kind volcanic mountains (volcanic arcs; likewise island arcs, such together the archipelago of Japan, or Sumatra, or the Aleutian islands turn off Alaska). The igneous batholiths that feed the volcanoes are the beginning of generation of brand-new continental crust. Continents space created over subduction zones as little proto- and microcontinents. Lock enlarge through colliding and also fusing together, or suturing onto a bigger continent, at a convergent bowl boundary. in ~ convergent limits oceanic lithosphere is always destroyed by descending right into a subduction zone. This is since oceanic rock is mafic, and heavy contrasted to the continents, and also sinks easily. Since oceanic lithosphere is created and also destroyed so easily ocean containers are young; the oldest we have is only about 200 million years old. Continents, ~ above the various other hand, written of light load rock never subduct. Thus, continent rock once formed is much more or much less permanent; the earliest continental fragment is 3.96 billion year old, basically as old as the earth itself. only one change boundary is present, ~ above the left side of the drawing. In ~ transform boundaries two plates simply slide previous one an additional horizontally, and also quietly contrasted to convergent and also divergent key boundaries. Most of these are discovered in the ocean basins, however the mountain Andreas fault in California and Mexico is an example coming on soil (and come California occupants it most likely does no seem that quiet).THE 6 LITHOSPHERIC TECTONIC REGIMESWe can simplify the means we think about the structure of the lithosphere through realizing that there are just 6 tectonic regimes that make up the lithosphere. A tectonic program is a section of the planet that is more or less uniform in the structure, absent composition, and also processes. The six tectonic regimes room the individual contents that interact in key tectonic theory. They can be grouped right into three divisions. 1. Continent (or, cratons)2. Ocean BasinsDivisions that compose the plates. These often tend to be large and boring; geologically very tiny of attention happens in ~ plates.Plate Boundaries- the three methods plates meet and also interact. These areas tend to be long, and linear or gently curved areas that are an extremely unstable. 3. Divergent4. Convergent5. Transform6. Warm Spots - pretty much do their very own thing different from everything else.Each of these tectonic energy is explained in the Glossary.PLATE COLLISIONSThe significance of bowl tectonic concept is the the plates (ocean basins plus or minus continents) slide roughly over the earth"s surface, communicating as they do at the plate boundaries. Thus, any time over there is a divergent plate border where 2 plates room separating, there need to be a convergent plate boundary (subduction zone) where two (or more) locations come with each other again. And also convergent boundaries always, eventually, bring about collisions between continents, or continents and terranes (island arcs plus or minus microcontinents).The drawings listed below show the major types the collisions within plate tectonic theory, although any kind of plausible combination of collisions is possible, and has most likely happened in the past.

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Observe, however, the the only method to acquire a collision type orogeny is to an initial have a subduction type first.