Monday, 4 November 2019

Plate driving mechanisms

The new ELI published today is "‘All models are wrong’ – but some are really wrong: plate-driving mechanisms. Many textbook diagrams of plate-driving forces have arrows in the wrong places".

This activity offers a strategy for teaching that all models are simplifications, and that these can be wrong when superseded by better evidence-based models, Many diagrams in textbooks show mantle convection to be the main driving force behind the movement of tectonic plates, through arrows showing convection currents throughout the mantle. However, evidence from seismic tomography and from the speed of plate movement related to the area of plates and the length of plate margins, shows that slab-pull and ridge-push mechanisms are more important drivers for most, if not all plates.
Many more activities related to plate tectonics can be found on our website by using the search engine or the alphabetical index.

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