Geography 100 online

Exercise #2: Plate Tectonics and Associated Landforms (19 pts)

This exercise examines the relationship between tectonic plate interaction, volcanic activity and earthquakes. The movements of the plates and the characteristics of their margins determine, to a large extent, the distribution of seismic and volcanic activity.

Plate Margins and Plate Interaction

1) Examine each of the three diagrams below. Identify and briefly describe the plate tectonic setting they represent. Using your text, the readings from the reading packet and Google Earth find an example of each of these plate tectonic settings from the Earth’s surface. Identify a 2nd order relief feature in this setting and a 3rd order relief feature that is characteristic of this type of plate interaction. (2 points each, total of 6 points)

Diagram A


Diagram B


Diagram C


Volcanoes and Plate Margins

Many 2nd order relief features are volcanic in nature. The global distribution of most volcanoes is due to plate tectonic processes. However, the existence of hot spots or stationary thermal plumes in the asthenosphere can also influence the location and type of volcanoes found on our planet.

2) Using your text, the reading from the web readings and the USGS websites: and answer the following questions:

A) Identify two volcanic ranges (2nd order relief feature) and two volcanoes (3rd order relief feature) that are on a divergent margin. (2 pt)

B) Identify two volcanic ranges that are on a subduction zone (other than the Cascades). (1 pt)

C) Identify two volcanoes or clusters of volcanoes that are hot spots. (1 pt)

3) Go to the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program website Examine Latest Earthquakes and answer the following questions in complete sentences.

A) Along which type of plate boundary is the concentration of quakes the greatest? Describe specifically where this is (for example: along the northern edge of the North American Plate). (2 pts)

B) How do earthquakes along convergent boundaries and divergent boundaries compare in terms of depth, magnitude and frequency? (2 pts)

C) What is the range in depth of most earthquakes along transform boundaries? (1 pt)

D) According to the data at this site, when how large (in magnitude) and at what depth was the most recent quake in the Western USA? (1 pt)

E) What type of plate boundary produced the January 12, 2010 quake in Haiti? What type of plate boundary produced the March 11, 2011 quake in Japan? How is Haiti’s plate tectonic setting different from Japan’s? (3 pt)

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