Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Harsh K. Gupta

Plates and Paleoreconstructions

  • Alan G. SmithEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10475-7_170-1
  • 13 Downloads

Definition

The lithosphere is the outer rigid part of the Earth, forming a shell whose thickness may range up to about 200 km.

A tectonic plate is a part of the Earth’s lithosphere that is bounded by active plate margins.

A present-day plate margin is a seismically active zone that cuts the lithosphere.

Conservative plate boundaries are plate boundaries that separate two plates that are sliding past one another along a transform fault (which must cut the lithosphere). Divergent (extensional) plate boundaries mark where the two plates are separating from one another, generally forming passive (or Atlantic) continental margins (though extension can also occur behind island arcs).

Convergent plate boundaries are located between a converging oceanic and continental plate forming an active (Pacific) continental margin, or between a converging oceanic plate and an island arc.

A global paleoreconstructionshows a reassembly of the major continents (and oceans) relative to one another at some...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Collins AS, Pisarevsky SA (2005) Amalgamating eastern Gondwana: the evolution of the Circum-Indian Orogens. Earth-Sci Rev 71:229–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cox A, Hart RB (1986) Plate tectonics: how it works. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Crosby AG, McKenzie D, Sclater JG (2006) The relationship between depth, age and gravity in the oceans. Geophys J Int 166:553–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Duncan RA (1981) Hotspots in the southern ocean – an absolute frame of reference for motions of the Gondwana continents. Tectonophysics 74:29–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Isacks B, Oliver J, Sykes LR (1968) Seismology and the new global tectonics. J Geophys Res 73:5855–5899CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Livermore RA, Vine FJ, Smith AG (1983) Plate motions and the geomagnetic field. 1: quaternary and late tertiary. Geophys J R Astron Soc 73:153–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. McKenzie DP, Parker RL (1967) The north pacific: an example of tectonics on a sphere. Nature 216:1276–1280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Morgan WJ (1968) Rises, trenches, great faults and crustal blocks. J Geophys Res 73:1959–1982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Morgan WJ (1981) Hotspot tracks and the opening of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In: Emiliani C (ed) The oceanic lithosphere. Wiley, New York, pp 443–487Google Scholar
  10. Müller RD, Royer JY, Lawver LA (1993) Revised plate motions relative to the hotspots from combined Atlantic and Indian Ocean hotspot tracks. Geology 21:275–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Powell CM, Roots SR, Veevers SJ (1988) Pre-breakup continental extension in East Gondwanaland and the early opening of the eastern Indian Ocean. Tectonophysics 155:261–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Priestley K, McKenzie D (2006) The thermal structure of the lithosphere from shear wave velocities. Earth Planet Sci Lett 244:285–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sawyer DS (1985) Total tectonic subsidence: a parameter for distinguishing crust type at the U.S. continental margin. J Geophys Res 90:7751–7769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Shackleton RM (1988) Tectonic evolution of the Himalayas and Tibet. In: Shackleton RM, Dewey JF, Windley BF (eds) Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London, series A: mathematical and physical sciences. The Royal Society of London, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Smith AG, Briden JC, Drewry GE (1973) Phanerozoic world maps. In: Hughes NF (ed) Organisms and continents through time, volume 12: special paper. Palaeontological Association, London, pp 1–42Google Scholar
  16. Smith AG, Smith DG, Funnell BM (1994) Atlas of Mesozoic and Cenozoic coastlines. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. Stampfli GM, Borel GD (2002) A plate tectonic model for the Paleozoic and Mesozoic constrained by dynamic plate boundaries and restored synthetic oceanic isochrons. Earth Planet Sci Lett 196:17–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Stampfli GM, Borel GD (2004) The TRANSMED transects in space and time: constraints on the paleotectonic evolution of the Mediterranean domain. In: Cavazza W, Roure FM, Spakman W, Stampfli GM, Ziegler PA (eds) The TRANSMED atlas – the Mediterranean region from crust to mantle. Springer, Berlin, pp 53–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Vine FJ, Matthews DH (1963) Magnetic anomalies over oceanic ridges. Nature 199:947–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wilson JT (1963) A possible origin of the Hawaiian Islands. Can J Phys 41:863–870CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK