Earthquakes and plate tectonics relationship

Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics

earthquakes and plate tectonics relationship

Earthquake belts and distribution. Earthquakes occur in well‐defined belts that correspond to active plate tectonic zones. The circum‐Pacific be. Plate Tectonics, the Cause of Earthquakes. The plates consist of an outer layer of the Earth, the lithosphere, which is cool enough to behave as a more or less. Plate tectonics, volcanoes and earthquakes Scientists have been able to demonstrate this link and also know what type of earthquake to look.

A subduction boundary is marked by the oceanic crust of one plate that is being pushed downward beneath the continental or oceanic crust of another plate.

A collision boundary separates two continental plates that are pushed into contact; the suture zone is the line of collision.

Plate Tectonic, Volcanoes and Earthquakes

Both types of boundaries have distinctive earthquake patterns. Earthquakes associated with a collision boundary define shallow, broad zones of seismic activity that form in complex fault systems along the suture zone. Earthquake patterns in subduction zones are more complex. As the oceanic crust begins to descend, it begins to break into blocks because of tension stress.

Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics

Earthquakes also periodically occur as the plate continues to subduct up to a depth of about kilometers miles. Earthquakes are relatively abundant in the first kilometers miles of a subduction zone, are scarce from to kilometers to milesand then increase slightly again from to kilometers to miles.

earthquakes and plate tectonics relationship

It is possible that these deepest quakes are related to sudden mineral transformations and resultant energy releases or volume changes. It has been theorized that earthquakes do not occur at depths greater than kilometers because the subducting plate is not brittle anymore and has become hot enough to flow plastically.


The distribution of earthquake foci along a subduction zone gives an accurate profile of the angle of the descending plate. Most often, plates start subducting at a shallow angle, which becomes steeper with depth.

earthquakes and plate tectonics relationship

The angle of subduction is proportional to the density of the plate material, the amount of faulting and thrusting, and the tearing or crumpling of the descending plate. There are three main types of plate boundaries: Subduction zones occur when one or both of the tectonic plates are composed of oceanic crust.

The denser plate is subducted underneath the less dense plate. The plate being forced under is eventually melted and destroyed.

What is the connection between earthquakes and tectonic plates? – Earth Zone

Where oceanic crust meets ocean crust Island arcs and oceanic trenches occur when both of the plates are made of oceanic crust. Zones of active seafloor spreading can also occur behind the island arc, known as back-arc basins.

earthquakes and plate tectonics relationship

These are often associated with submarine volcanoes. Where oceanic crust meets continental crust The denser oceanic plate is subducted, often forming a mountain range on the continent. The Andes is an example of this type of collision.

earthquakes and plate tectonics relationship

Where continental crust meets continental crust Both continental crusts are too light to subduct so a continent-continent collision occurs, creating especially large mountain ranges.

The most spectacular example of this is the Himalayas. Divergent boundaries — where two plates are moving apart.