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(o) Types of Plqie Boundories: Poiterns of disfribution

. Driven by underlying convection currents, tectonic plotes ore constontly on lhe


. There ore three types of plote boundo.ies ( Fi9 15):

i) Divergeni or constructive plofe boundories
ii\ Convetgenl ot desfructive ploie boundqries
iii) Tronsforrn or conservotive plote bouhdories

t+':=-: 1i
PrarF6ourDifii (Yo1jrc P1!JEB0ur0!fi1

Fig 15: Different Plote boundories

i) Divergenlboundories
. Zones ol tension where 2 liihospheric plqfes move oporl frorn one onofher.
. Two types of divergent plqte boondories:
> Oceanic vs- Oceanic: Locofed in the middle of woald's rnojor ocecnic bosins,
which mork the locotaon of spreodang centres._
> Conlinental ys. Confinenlal: Locoted in Eosfern Af.ico.
ii) Convergenl boundories
. Zone of compaessiondl forces ond defoamolion whete lwo plotes move towords
eoch ofher.
. Three types ol convergent plote boundories
> Oceanic vs Oceanic: Moinly locoted on the western morqins of the Pdcific
Q99q4 olong the Pocific Rinq of Fire
> Cohtinenfal vs Cohtinenlal: Locoted in Northern fndio
> Oceanic vs contihenlal Moinly locoted ot the eostern norqins of the Pdcific
Aceon olong the edges of the conlanents North Americo dnd Soalh

Pocific Ring of Fire:

. Also known a5 the Circun Pactfic Rtng of Fire.

- The Pacific Ping of Fire is an are.r af frequent eartltquokes and volcanic erupfions
encirc/ing the bastn of the Paciftc Oceon
. t he Bing of Fre has 452 volcanoes and i5 home lo aver /52 of the world s dcrive
ond domonl volcanoes.
'. f he "Ring of fire" is dn drc tfrefchlng frotn New Zealand. along lhe eostern edge of
Asid ( Jap.In, Philippines, fndonesn) orth dct'oss fhe Aleuftdn Islands of A/aska, and
south along the codst of Norlh and sout'h Anertca
> fn a 4O.aOA kn horseshoe thape, tt' is dssociated wifh a nearly canlinuous series of
oc.anic frenchet, volcanic arcs, and volcanic be/ts and/or plare movenenls

iii) Tronsform boundories

. Known os conservolive plote maagin beco(se crusicl aocks ore being neilher
deoled ot deslroyed.
. Occur when two ploles move parolle! or neorly porollel to eoch oiher.
. Defined by inlense "sheoring" ond foulting forces.
. Locoted an colifornio ( ie: Scn Andreos Fault) ond Souihe.n Turkey ( ie: Deod
5eo Tronsform syslem)

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Fig 16: Lithospheric Plotes of the korld
b) Distribuiion ond formotion of lqndforms ond phenomenq qt different
plofe boundories.

. Lqndforns: Feolures thot moke the eoalh s surfoce

Eg: Fold Mountoins, Volconoes. Mid Oceonic Ridges etc etc.
. Phenomenor Potterns of oclavaty
Eg: Volconic octivity, Eorlhquokes

. It is ot ihe Dlote boundories thot most of the world's mojor londforms qnd
volconic ond eorthquoke aclivity is locoJed.

. The type of londforms ond phenomeno found o1 plote boundories will depend on

> The noture of cruslo! moteriol ot the plofe boundcries ( ie: oceonrc or
The lype ol movement ( ie: divergent, conretgenl, l.dnsform)
. The notul.e of the c.uslal moterrol ond direcfion of movemeni will leod 1o
different p.ocesses operoting ot drfferent boundories, thereby leoding lo disfinct
types of londforms ond phenomeno ot diffeteal plote bounddries.

Types of Plote boundories

: Drverqent :

0(, vs 0[
1) 3) 0L us 0C q C( 'ls CC
CLus cc 4' LL vs LL
s) 0v ts ce

(b) I. Londforms ond phenorneno ot Oceonic - O ceanic divergeht bouhdories

Processes qnd Londforms:

divetging convection curaents in ihe underlying monlle

. This leods to o gqping crock o. rifl in ihe crust. A subnqrine rift vollgy is
initiolly formed ot the rift

. Bosoltic mogmo rises up from the oslhenosphe.e ond energes from ihe fissure
of fhe submq.ine rift volley.

New oceonic crust is being formed by occreljon (growth by oddition) fhrough rhe
uprising of bosoltic mogmd

. As fhe basaltic lovo cools ond solidjfies, ii dttoches ifself to fhe plote on either
side af lhe sprecding zone, which is c symmetricol process This leods to the
exlension of the seo floor over fime, o process known o: seafloor spreadtrry

. A long choin of mountoins ore formed on bolh sides of ihe spredding center/ ft
This is referred to os o mid,oceqnic ridqe.

Eg Mid A tlantic Rtdge ( Fonned by rhe separarion af the Euraslon plote ond
Anertcan Plole, and lhe Afncan Plate fron the South pldte n the soutll

Fg 2: East Pocrfic Pise ( Forned by sepafafion of Nozca and paciflc p/are)

. As bosallic mogmo rises up th.ough the fissures, volconoes_ore formed olongside

lhe mid-oceonic ridge5. Eecouse these initiolly formed volconoes dre underv/oter,
they ore olso terned os submorihe volcohoes.

. Ihese submorine volconoes eventuolly develop into volconic islonds when they
emerged above the seo level .

Eg Ice/ond ond Azores ( Located on the id At/onti. Rtdge.)

Eg Z: Arcension Islands ( Lacoted along ,4lid At/antic pidqe)
Eg 3: €aster klands ( Lacated in €asr Pacific Rtse)

As seofloor spreoding continues, the newly formed volcanoes will groduolly be
bnoughf further ond furlher owoy from ihe spreoding cenlet la becofi\e exlinct
volcqnoes. These exlincl volconoes qre terned os seomounts-

Over time. the top of the seomounts ol.e eroded ond quyofs ore formed.6uyots
ore found furihest from the spreoding cenlre.

Occurrence of Phenotn€nol

Volconic oclivity: The frocfuring of the crust provides crocks cnd fissures
lh.oqgh which mogmo con flow through to reoch the eorths surfac€. This
contribules to volconic octivily ot ond neor the mid-oceonic ridges

Eorthquake octivity: Tensionol forces genetoled couse rocks to rupture under

stress When the aocks rqpture, seismic woves ofe genetoled, leoding to the
shdking of the ground ( ie: eorthquakes) Mosf of the eorthquokes hove shollow
focus( ie: less thon lO km d€ep) qnd smoll in mognitude (Fig 17)

oroo\t o,d6r Ne{orcl_lc ot4a, o,d.<r

oc-Jnic oL".ri
c.@l c.Gl c.6t .fg.r
Figu.e 17.. ocednic-oceonic c.ustol plqte boundory
5o!.ce: Mdrshok,5 2001. Eorfh: Portrori of o Plonet: New York, W.W. Norton.



z C.

o (t)
{, E

Chorocteristics of Londf orms :

hlid-oceanic Ridges
The oceonic tidge is on exfensive submqrine mountoin ronge on the floor of cli mojor
ogeqn bo!,ihs (1f9 1!}

t -ll
Y lt

Figure t8. World Distr,button of Mid oceonac Ridges
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. fypified by rugged volconic mounioin ronges, consisting of porollel r-idges

. Oceonic rtdges are the site of the most octive volconism on eorth
. Mony shollow focus eorlhquoke epicenteas ore locoted on ihe nid-oceonic l.idges.
. Along the cenlre of the tidge is oflen o centrol submorine rifi volley thoi is up fo
48kn1 wide

Le gth/Width/Heaghtl
. The lenglh con ronge frorn 64,000km
. The Miidth con ronge from 480 To 4BOOkm
. They con.ise {.rp lo 3500m obove the ocecn floor.
. The highest points of th€ oceonic ridge above lhe seo level form volconic islcnds.
. The height of the mid-oceonic ridge depends on ihe rote ot which mogmo is being
exfruded ond the rote of novement.
. Fost spreoding ridges hove genile slopes ond lqck o rift volley (e.9. Pocific Ridge)
while slow moving ridges (eg. Mid-Aflonfic Ridge) hgve s'teep slopes ond deep rift

. As the crusf spreods oway from the morgin it cools, becomes denser ond srnks down

hence, the oceon becomes deeper os distonce from th€ morgin increose,

Aset ]

. The oge of the oceonic crust is progressively older owoy fronr the spreoding centre (

Fig 19) l

t!@ o 5, illtun !'ei.-

@g 5 23 irillior; !1'a".
Fs5te t3 :|s,-itri-,i'r..".-
6tr::-eJa 53,nittiort ra.nrr
Csffil 5.r 6s rnillio,r -r-earJ
65 r:J5 rrtllio !.srl

F'gure 19 Age of Oceoni. Crusr in the Atloniac Oceon

Mognetic Reversol:
. Alternote b,rnds of normoily ond reversely orTcnged mognelised .ocks, symmetricolly
orrcnged cround the Mid Oceonic Ridge

Tronsform Foulfsi
If is olso nof o confinuous ronqe buf comprises o succession of segmenls which hove
been shifted oul of line by tronsform foults ot,ented ot right ongles 10 fhe ridges. (
Fie20 ,Fis zt\ 0(erq+ts ai all pla(e bour,do/ ties


l,la9oetrc a.onrrly
Fiqu.e 20. Tronsforin fo'rlt along the hid-oceonic.idge

u.e 21 T.onsfo.m Foults f!99" 9J lh" Aflontic oc€dn (Mid Atldnlic R1d99) _

Conicol hills or mountoins build up by the eJection of mogmo through a vent ot the eorth's

Noture of Volconoes:
. Oceonic oceonic davergent boundories ore sites of oclive volconism.
. Volcqnoes formed here ore bosolt;c in noture: This meqns thot they ore built up by
botollic mqgmo. Such volccnoes ore ossocioted wath faequent but gentle eruptions.
. These volconoes con either be submo.ine volccnoes ( under- woter) or volconic
islonds (obove the woler)

. When they ote extinct, fhey will become seomounts ond guyots.

Seomoqdts ond 6uyots:

. Seomounls qre under-woter geologic feotures thot rise steeply from the ocedn
lloor. They ore defined os hcving on elevotion of more thon 1000 rn.
. A guyot is q flat-topped hill rising lrom the oceon floor. They are underwoter
feqtures, ond form when the fop of q seo mount is ploned ocross by mo.ine erosron.

(b) 2
Londforns ond phenomeno ot Continentol-Contihehfol divergenJ
boundories L(nliMtttql
d r i F+i ry
PToce5ses cnd Londforms:

1llllI\,t/l nlql
ontiiv ql
tql d ni{+i
t\ lr/ln
Londforms .e;il yalky l1orsls qnd ) ftrAusl

underlying drv€rgrng.onvection (urrents

. As plotes move aport, the coniinentol crust is stretched ond thinned. The
brittle crust froclures on eoch side of the stressed oreo, ollowing sections to
drop down, forming o rifi volley

This process by which the confinentol crust slowly frociures opo.f over time rs
olso referred to os contineniol riftihg.

The rift volley profile is mode up of block nountains. Block mountoins ore
formed when downlhrown blocks ( ie_grobens) ore flonked by upliffed blocks
(ie: horsts)
t9, Eatt African Bift l/alley Fornted where tlt. Arabion plate 6 spltttng owar frcn the

. Tensionol forces moy leod to the subsidence of crust in certoin secfions of the
valley When woter flows inlo ihese subsided oreos, lokes will forrn
E.g: Loke Victorto. Lake toaganyika, Lake Turkdna, Lake Molaw; (East A frican Rifr Vo//ey)

. Mcgmc rises io ihe sLrrfoce ond emerges olong zones of weokness creoted by
the pr..rlling dp(rrt of the c.ust. This contriblles 10 ihe formotion of volcdnoes
olong the rift volley
Eg l4t KrnanJoro, l|t Kenya, Ertd A/e. Nyiragongo ( Fast African Rift Valley)

O ccur r ence a f Ph enomeno.

Volcdnicoctivily: The frqcfuring of the crust provrdes crocks ond fi55ures

throuqh which mogmo con flow through to .eoch the eo.fh's sitrfoce- This
contrjbufes 10 volconic activity in fhe rifl volley.

. Eorlhquoke octivity: Tensionol fotces genetaled couse Tocks io .l]pture under

sfress. When the rocks rupture, seismic wove5 o(e genetoted, leoding to the

shoking of the ground ( ie: eorlhquokes). Similor to eorthquokes ot oceonrc
oceonic divergent boundory, most of the eorihquokes here hove shollow focus{ ie:
less thon 10 km deep) ohd smail in rnogn,tude.

Fig 22 Divergenl continentol-conlinentol crusrol Plote bounda.y

Whof occurs 4LTER cohtinentol .ifttng?

Continentol rifting morks the beginning of the formotion of o new oceon

bosrn os fhe seo invcdes the oreo thot hos been torn oparf (Figu.e lB)

Eg: Ihe At/antic Ocedn

'!os forned as the continent of Laurora wds spltt into two. o
process that nay be repeoting rtse/f h East Afn.a (Refer ta Fg on next poge on East

Rifi valley Bl,lcli mdlniains





Figure 23 Ihe birfh of o n€w oceon boein o rifr v9!9v I

BBC News: Ihursday B December 2005
Trtle of adicle Geoloqists witness 'ocean birth'

. Screntists say they have witnessed the possible birth of a fuiure ocean basrn
growing in the north eastern Ethiopia.
. I he team watched an Bm rift develop in the ground in JUst three weeks in the Afar
desert region in September.
. lt is one small step rn a long-term split that is tearing the east of Ethiopja from the
rest of Africa and should eventually create a huge sea
. ll began wath a large eafthquake and continued wath moderate tremors.
. A week later, there was volcanic eruption and cracks appeared in the ground,
some of wh,ch were more than a meke wide
. Using satellite technrques they could see ground deformation, and about a month
after the sequence a 60km long lissuae had opened up, and it opened up about
Bm rn its centralpa.l

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Chol"octerisf ics of Londf orms:

Riff Valleys:
A volley ihot hos developed olong a rift, especiolly one bounded by normol foulls.

. Riff volleys ore usuolly norrow ond

long ond hove o relotively flot floor.
. The sides of the rift volleys
typicolly consist of multiple foult ( Fig 24)
. Oflen occornponied by the
presence of lokes ond volccnoes
. Mounloin mosses colled block Fig 24 : i\,tultiple Fdult scorps olong the Eost
mountoihs or€ olso produced, rn Africon Rift Volley
regions where normol foulting
occurs 0n o mossive scale
. Tensioncl stresses result in shollow
eorthquakes olong the rift v6lley

Cose Sfudy: Eost Africon Rift Volley

-> Formed by sepcrofion of African

plole from Arob,on plale ( Frq /5)
> In Africa, fhe rifi volley €xtends
for 4oo0krn from Mozombique to the
Red Seo,
) I n ploces. rls -id,s ore over o00m in
height while its width vories between
1O ond 50km.
) Where the lond hos been pulled
oporl sufficiently, it hos been invoded
by fhe sec. This represents the first
stoge in the spliffinq oport of the F,9 25: Eosr Africon Rift Volley
continent to form o neu/ oceon bosin.

',\orrnql lrru(|s" li
iAccLt(e ,^h90 .a^P +dlon a{ +hL took ls dlspl<crd dowa,^/qtcLs
ft(q1ive tr +,^p, othlr
- (amnTn ir f q51 Adrlrcn I i{ | u<tky,rt"\tue 19n:,hnqt lWAs q.t1
011 ('[ut1ql
Block tllountarns (Horsf and Graben)
A block nounfant (horsf) is an up/ifted block befween two nornal faults, which has steep
Block mountoins cre formed when STRIKE.SLIP FAULT
blocks ore disploced relolive to
eoch olher due io the presence of

A fqq[ in the brittle rocks of the

eorlh5 crust occuTs when rock<
suddenly yield to unequol slresses
by frccturinq. REVERSE FAULT
Foulfing occomponied by o
displocement slipping motion -
olong the plone ol breokaqe, colled
foult plone

. One common typ€ of foult

osso ror"d wrth.ructoJrrf'r g rs
the normol fqult (Fiq 26)
Figure ?6: Type. ol faults
fc',it'/411 - BI,sak qbo*i hfi p:///ldpdrk< wr !sgs,i hrghlonds hr
flu {uu l'i hqr'rr.r 0rlarl dowawqrl

A norroll/ blo, i d,:plo, ed
oownwordc betw."n rwo normol l

ioulls rs o qroben. tl'o Z/)

Horsfs ore blo( l.-l'le ploteous

". l:.:;$
mounlorns. oflen wirh o flot top ]] F 1.
but sleep slrcrghl <ides (blort l1
morn loras)
lrigu"" 27. Formotion of block mosntoin / horst by

I l

lvlr,rltiplz frqr11 5arps"

-)De vrlop \^h,4 tV\N( ls a dfsp[utnyr,ua4 sl 6oc|5 i6
+ $!06,x7.{i {odt 6cq(pt lltroulln,',f IIlr. Essl t4+ricd.a
(b) 3- Londfo.ns ond phenoheno ot Oceonic-Oceo ic con\teageht boundories

Processes qnd Londforms:

' 0u,rnic tr(.A6h ,
fi q r;M t/ ol c(l t1,J e s
'foico nic i5lqnd qr( 'ub

Wn q ' l/cicqnic ,
. Two plotes consisting of oceonic Lqrthqrtalu
caust of the edges rnove opaat due lo
underlying converging convection curl ents.

. When these two plotes converge. subduclion occurs, where the older, denser
ocecnic crust will sank beneofh the olhet crust. The leading edge of the
descending plole (ie the oceanic plote) is cooler thon the surrounding
oslhenosphere ond will sink further down

. A deep deptession morks the locqtion wheae the oceonic crust subducls ben€oth
the other. This deep depression is known os o trench.

Eg 1: l4ariana Trench G the wo ds deepest trench with a depth exceeding iiknl

(Convergence af the Paaftc ond the Phthpynes Pldte The denser Podfi. Plote subducrs
beneoth the Phtlippines Pldte)
Eg 2: Jdpan rrench (Pociftc plate subducts beneath Euroridn pldte)
Eg 3: Aleuhans rtench ( Pa.ific plate subducts beneath North Anericdn P/ate)
Eg4 Jav.t nench ( Indo-Austra/ian pldte subducts beneath Eurdsian pldte)

. of the subducled oceonic c.ust occurs ct o depth of lOO km in

Por"tiol nelting
the oslhenosphere due 10 the high temperotures ot depth. Andesilic or
rhyolitic moqmo is produced.

. Being lighter thon the surrounding monlle noleriol. the ondesific mdgmo rrses
verficolly ond emerges from the oceon floor to forn o choin of dndesific
volconoes on ihe overriding plote. These choin of volconoes will initiolly be
underwoler os subrnorine volconqes- This choin of volconoes will eventuolly rise
obove the woler to form q choin of volconoes porollel to the laench , to form o
volconic islond orc.
E9 1: fhe Philippind (Phi/ippnes plate subducts beneath Eurasian p/ate)
Eg 2: Japan ( Pacific p/ate subducts beneotb Eurosion plate)
Eg 3: Aleutian Itlandt ( Pocific plate subducts beneath North Anerican Plate)
Eg 4. tndonesio ( Indo Austrahan p/afe subductr beneoth Eurasian plate)

O ccurrence of ghenoll'

Volconic octivity: Portiol melting of subdr.tcted crust produces ondesitic or

rhyolilic mqgrno thot reoches lhe earth's surfoce vio crocks ond fissures. This
contribules lo volconic octivity olong oceonic lrenches.

Eorthquoke ocliviiy: Most of the eorfhquokes ote genetoted olong the

subduclion zone. The intense qmount of stress built up ond releosed in thrs zone
leods to eorthgudkes. This lineor zone of eorthquokes rs olso known os fhe
Benioff zone. Unlike divergent boundoraes. focus of eorlhquokes vories from
shqllow to dee\ eorthquake foci tends to 6e deepe. further owoy from the

28. Oceonic-oceonic convergent ptote boundory


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Chorocferistics of Londf ormsi

Oceanic Trench: (oceqnic Vs oceonic)

Deep, norrow ond steep sided V-shoped depressions locoted ot the bose of the deep
oceon floor{Fiq 29\


Figurc 29. Wotld Distribution of oceonic Trenches ( Note thqt nof oll trenches feoru.ed
here are foined by oceonac-oceonic conve.gence)
Dist.ibution/Locof aoh :
. Morks fhe position where the oceonic
crust subducts into the monfie

. The be5T developed oceonic lrenches

ore found in the western Pocific, '.:
where lhe Pacilic Plate meets the
Auslralion ond Eurosion Ploles
F,g : A/eutidn I'rench. Marnnos rrench.
rongo rrench. Japdn hench.
Konchalka Trench


Outside the Pccific ()cean, they ore

Frgu.e 30: Prof'le of the ,,lorronos lrench.

found in fndonesio (Javo Trench), Nor,ce rhe osyrnmerflcol prot'le of the

Corribeon ond the South Sondwich trench
fslonds hI Ip:/ l4!!1 !!r st!.s!!!!qlL s!9r!l
. Asymmetricol in profile os the l

seowoad sid€ iends to be smoother

ond hcve o gently curved siope while I


a ryclly ctlrU(d llaps 6q;!n

\h,t s,'J., gi \Vu ottgridlrrg
p\a\.r \s 5fupe.p
. Oceonic lrenches ore sedinent trops
ond they moy be shoped to sone
degree 6y lhe deposlts

. They con l>e os deep os llkrn, over
3OOOkm long ond 5 km wide ot the

. Found oboul 1OO to 200km ou/oy

faom the islond crcs os the dislonce
depends on the ongle of subducfion

Volcanic Island Arcs; (oceonic-oceanic)

Arcuate(ie: curved) choins of volconic islonds thol ore convex lowoads the open ocean.
Form porollel to oceonic trenches-
fnpottaht potht to nofe: AII island arcs are made up of volcanic islands bul hot all
y9k44!94!9!4J?4-lL9t9 d above mid-oceanic ridoes) form isla4d arcs
] , i ' .:;r:, :-.11," ', ll
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. ;'.,.':'..ji'": ''. -';",''. -t 1,. ,
^]. t,, ,,. , ' 'ri," ,o,,,, '.._
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] Lanqtude
i "-*"^'".::::: :"-r: ]

figrl.e 31. Wo.ld dislribution of Islcnd Arcs ond Oceonic Trenches

Disf rib!tion/Locof ion :

. Locoted porollel io oceonic irenches.

. Most ore locoted on the western
morgins of the Pocific Oceon olong
the Pccific Ring of Fire
E9: JaPan. rhe Phi/ppines, Aleutnn rsldnds,

. The olher 2 oteas ore lhe West

fndies ond fhe Scofio Arc at the
Atlontic Oceon (Fig 32)

Figure 32 Mop of W€sl Indies Notice fhor

aslond arc is CURVED.


. Andesitic or rhyolitic in nature: This

meons thoi they ore built !p by
qndesitic or .hyolitic mogmo. Andesitic
or.hyolitic rnogmo is formed by the
porfiol melting of subdqcted crusf.

Because of thei. different mineral

composilion, fhey are distinctly
dif ferenl fron the mqny ocednic
rslond groups ond seo mountoins of
lhe fitd oceonic ridge.

Regions of cleep loci ond shollow foci Earthquake Focus

eorthquokes The shollow f oci
eorthquakes ore concentroted under Fi9 33: Benioff Zone. Notice thot
lhe oceon c trench u/hile lhe deeper loci is deeper awoy from fhe
foci ecclhquokes oae locoted
p.og.essively further behind the
volconic islcnds. (Fi9 33)

. The distonce between ihe islond orc
and lhe oceonic tr€nch depends on
the a gle of subduction ot the
Benioff Zone. If the o gle as steep.
the islond orc wil! be locoted closer
to the oceonic trench ond vice verso
(Fis 3a)

. Morine sediments in the oceonic

Irenches ate also deformed ond
metomorphosed by the compressionol
forces of lhe two converging plotes.
This leod 10 the formotion of young
fold mountorns on ihe volconrc Fig 34: Distance beflv€en oc€onic trench ond
islonds islond orc. Notice thot disfonce of orc from
Es: Japanese Ahs trench is furlher when ongie of subduction is

fttl hlq,td wr 5 o,t- Actfu vp s( volLqnic hlqftd| h,af no-f t [l r/hlcqalc

islqltds lsrn lslanrl qrts
^---.--- - 0( vs 0( zonveryenpfr

(b) 4, Lcndforns ond phenonenc oi Oceonic-Continentol cohvergehi boundqries

Processes ond Londforms:

lonaforms noctqn)c F f e0olr, , (rll 'ft)ou,tlqios
. Vo{cqnic
plaAJnxlq 'V0l*41" ac1,.til.1 t L-, rhq,tq,..e acivitv
. plotes
When two waih continentol ciusl ond oceonrc crust ot iheir edges collide,
the leodi^g edge of lhe denser oceonic crusf subducts beneath lhe lighfer
coniinentol plote ond dives into the montle. The leoding edge ol the descending
plole (i.e. the oceonic plote) is cooler thqn the sur.ounding osihenosphere ond
will sink fu.the. down

. A deep depression morks the locolion where the oceonic crusl subducfs beneoth
the continentol caLtst This deep dep.esslon is known os o trench.
Eg: Peru-Chile Trench rs located offshore fron the weslern coast of Sout'h
Anerica. ft /5 forned fron lhe convergence of the Nazca Plate dnd the South
Ameflcan Plate. The denser Nazca Plate subducls beneath lhe fhinker and buovanf
South American Plafe

. As the descending plote sinks benedth the over-riding plote, low denrity moaine
sediments ore scroped oft the surfoce of the descending/subdlcted plote by
ihe overriding plote

. These seditnents qccumulote ot the contanentol slope ond shelf o^d they ore
subsequenlly deformed by folding ond fouliang to form ygg4q jq!9l49gq1q!45 in
o process known os orogenesis
Eq. Andes lUounlans. It t5 locoled pat-allel ta the Peru chile trench and was fo ned when
Nazca plate subducted beneolh the South Aneflcon p/ale

. Portiol melting of the subdlcted oceonic crust occurs ot c depth of 1OO km in

the osfhenosphere 1o form ondesilic or rhyolilic mogma.

. Being lighter thon the su.roundang montle moienol, some of lhe andesitic or
rhyolific mogmo forces i1s woy upword through crocks ond fissures to the
sur'foce. The lovo cools cnd solidifies to forn ondesific or rhyoliiic volconoes on
the continenf5-

These chain of volccnoes on ihe continentol crust is known os o volconic orc

Eg 1: Paficultn, Nevado de/ Butz. Pbpocatepetl forhed dlong the Andes ,iLlountons
Eg 2: Cascode Bange ( cansislng of volconoes such as i,tf 5t Helens, Three sisters, t,1t
Hood, Mt Adans et. erc etc .) forned uhen Juan De Fuco plafe subducted beneath |,tor.rh

Occurrence of Dhenomenoi

. Volcqnic octivity: Po.tioi rnelting of subducled crust produces ondesiiic or

rhyolitic mogmo lhot.ecches the eorths surfqce vic crocks ond fissores This
coniributes fo volc(rnic octivity olong oceqnic lrenches.

. Eorthquoke octivify: Most of the eorthquokes cre generqted olong the

slbduciion zone The infense omouni of stress buiit up ond releosed in this zone
leods to eorthquokes This lineor zone of eqrthquokes is olso known os the
Benioff zone Unlike divergent boondories, focus of eorthqr:okes vories from
shollow fo deep: eorthquoke foci fends to be dzeper further owoy from the

oi 6en!c Cru*l


Ocaafi,lc.coft lir!erilsl corl.v6rgie!ice USGS

Figure 35 Oceanic continenlol convergent plcte boundary


o OO

d;*** * *
d I L:.

o ,.'
z:f ^y,.7
o ," ^S'.'l
c0 .^\a\.-._,/,.1. :1
J c)
o* o

zl a -a
o_ I

l a
(Jl O o
.g 0)
c(g c E
o a o
N &

Chorqcterisiics of Londf orms:

Oceonic Trenches (oceonic-continentql)

Deep. narrow and iteep sided V-shaped depressions located at fhe base of the
deep ocean floor.

f€otured here ore th€ resslt of oceonic continental convergence)

Distribution/Locotion :
. At oceonic-continentol convergent plote boundories, they develope<1 parollel
continenlol ma.ginS-
Eg: Peru-chile lrench

*Refet fo the oceanic trench notes uhder oceanlc vs oceonic convefgenf plole

- 0\i€r"rlJ;n9
ptul,t s+/_spQ{
- JqbJucllns plalt
1o volcq,lic qr6g

Curved belf of nounfain system whrch consists of dctive volcanoes of andestlic or
rhyolilic conpoiition

found of the edge of the continents along convergent plo.e

frenches thot mork the line of descent of the oceonic

rhe to/-oaoe< ot the aoscadc Bangc and the Ande,

A shifting regaon
\on ranp flet. .n ! t \','n
Making the ground shake


jrrf!lar.\ ra,t ll!.i.J) ,rfrna rr
I irrku( re pl.ur nra.9 n
:_: lduo afldtoulh s.orrii.rl brlti?
'in.rrr!. .r ^.d.r
r.ll rrrno lHi{r.rne3.r

lo..ahndr irdnr.nra4

Figure 38 rhe coAvergence of Nqzco ond South American Plote

Source: Dovid Wou{lh, 20OO

The Andes : In South Amer,co, the subduclion ond portial neltinq of ihe Nozco
Plo1e subsequently produces volconoes such os Pqrictltin, Nevodo del Ruiz, ]

Popocdfepetl dlong the Andes. ( Fiq 38)


Feorures. vtry vieroqs({h}cL )

. Aades,ltc or rhyolrtrr rn notur'e I hrs meo4s lho' rhey ore burlr up or fed by
ondesitic or rhyolitic mogno. Andesiiic or rhyolitic mogmo is formed by the
portidl meliing of subducied c.ust-
( q,4t
d hy itp
. Regron' o{ oeep focr ond shollow io.i eorlhquokps lhe shollow lorr eorrhquolas

ore concentaoted under the oceanic lrench while the deeper foci eorlhglokes
o.e locdted p.ogressively furfher behind the volcahic rlrc

. The dislonce between the volconic orc ond the oceonic lrench depends on the
ongle of subduction ot the Beniolf Zone If the ongle is sleep, the islond orc
will be locofed closer fo the oceonic trench ond vice-versc
young Fold llouhfait s: (oceohic-confinentol)
High rugged mountains (alpine chains) which fom long conftnuous chatnt fhaf can
extend thousands of kilonete6 in length..

Locotion./Distribulioh :
. Along the edges of continents.
Eg: And*( l4/estern edge of Soufh Aherica)

Feotures: 0t0*1,M5ls
. Foldrng! foulting ond volconic octivity contrib!te fo the mountoin-bililding
process ot such boundoaies_

*Refer to the notes on chat"acterisfks of youhg fold mountains under

continental-continehfal convergent plote boundaries

(b) 5- Lcndforrns cnd phenonena ot Continentol Cohtinentol convergenl

Processes ond Londforms:

B"':* Iqe
]Londforms l,Fal

ph^ t0/y\! /rt. rrtr-.J-ct*7,? o.fiu,'tu ,

E,rrth quqlj qciillTv
. Mossive uplrfl ond ioldrng of crusiol moJy'rrol tokes ploce- o process known bs

When continenlol collision begins to toke ploce, brood wedges of stroto of o

possive continenlol morgin come under strong forces of compression

One coniinentol mcss moy override the other BUT the lower moss is not forced
down into ihe oslhenosphere or rnonlle ( a.e. subduction does noi occur)

. This is becouse continenlql moferiol is too light, buoyonl ond too thick to be
subducted into the mqnlle

. Insteod, the londmass thickens ond becomes uplifted to form fold mounidihs.
Eg: Hmalayas ( fonned when Inda Austro/ian pldte colhded with rhe Euronon plate)

Occqraence of Phenomeno:

. Volconic octivity: There is no volcahic ocfivity qt continentdl-continentol plote

boundories This is becouse there is no opportunily for mogmo lo aeoch the eorth s
sqrfoce. Specificoliy, there is no subdllction, hence no ondesitic or rhyolitrc mogmc
as genetofed

. Eorthquoke dcfivityr C9np1s55;6.a1 forces generoted couse rocks io rupture

under stress. When the rocks rupfur€, seismic waves ote generoted,leodtng lo the
shaking of the qround ( iei eo.thquokes)

Eg: Four malor earthqnkes hove occurred in the Hinaloyan region tn the pdst 1OO years.
rhe fonous edrthguake thdt hit Nep:al in 1933 ki/led thouson& and destroyed a lot of
pfoperty in Nepa/ and northe.n India several earthguakes hove occurred after that.

0roc1rus,s -1hz proast sf lrtaur,Iqio'b,'tildiry i^lelul4rl {olding

af fdirnltl< crrC loulling

,.- -:+
.' *b.cS$F

Co li t I n r! 11 i 6 I' c () r1 t i n e fi ts I c $ n v G r g d nc 6 LI S GS
Fi9 39: Continentol Conlinentsl convergent boundory


conr,nenrar crusr ( llrh.f

bua't,t(\1( 4lt,1t

Chorocleristics of Londf ormsl

Fold /Uounfdias:
A range of nounlains resulting from the bending and folding of crusfalndferial

. Height vories depending on the o9e_

. Geologicolly younger ( ie: formed less thon 50 millioh yeors ogo). fold mountoins
hove higher elevolion ( ie: which exceeds 3OOOn in height obo ve sea level).
. This i5 because tl\ete is o shorter lime for the forces of eroston ond lveoihering
to work os compored to the older fold mountoins.

. Hrghly rrregulor telief due lo vprircol rncrsron ond prosion by rrvers ond movrng rLe
{ re. slo"rorron) 1lcr.o tle4:tngt|fllff 61 i4 1lg*l:
. Composed of thick loyers of sedimentory rock3.
. Geologically ocfive qs uplifting confinues 10 occur ond shollow foci ecrthquokes
ore evidence of rhe geotogic acrivify Qeoloqjc"lly qclilO, -_c0npU

Folding ond Foulting:

. Fold mountoins fypicolly consist of intensely deformed strotq ihqt o.e tightly
compressed into wovelike structures, colled folds (Fi1 aO Fiq 41,Fig 4?.)
. Along,"./ith the foldrng is o form of foulfing in which slices of rocks move under the
underlying rock on foult surfoces of low inclinolion These are overlhl.ust fo{rlts
. The entire defor'med rock rnoss produced by srch conpressiondl mountdin moking
is colled on orogen, ond the evenf ihot event thot produced it is known 05 orogeny.

Nuppe l5llus o{ (a.ks

lndiuicluql roLL 5licB q(e c,tlkd +hvtl rlrulE

I ,FecLrfibenl
/ ron
t, - .,1.:

:,1 ::- : n

: TUecumb"'nt


Figure 40: Typ€s of folds Fioure 41: Cross-section of d fold

Figure 42 Typ€s of Folds

Cqse Himoloyds (Collision of Eurosion with Indo-Austrolion plotes)

A ndmow oceon bosrn,

T€rhys Seq, initiolly
sepdrdted Indro from Asid

.r0 50 ur
Eventudlly. lhis oceon
basrn wds closed by
subdu.faon: fhe
nofihetn edge of the
Ind,on plote (oceonic
c.!st) wos subducted
Lrnl,l ihe Indion s(rb
c.urt) lodged dgdinsi

Lri], (,,1,fir, ,rr

The conlinentol c.ust5

..i. l\' *; "fi r'-. too
we.e ,h'.! dnd
roo ihrck o.d too
'f m ,oa in
1ow r dpn.,iy ro be
densriy to bp
' $,$F ]

I '.r,: u Ih. compressionol

the P.

' o.npr?ssrono{ fo.ces


/ 'o.
, ol<erl lhe rcd,, enlo.'

FF-.*;:+ ,o.r o bp upr,r',d ro

+""Wfil'd rorrn
'h' nossrve roid

..$&i,l no,aro,n roneP w.rh Mr

The Himoloyos ore still rising todoy, os thp Indion plot€ , onrrnues to nove

northwordS 0i q rote o( 2.m/'tr.

Cdse Study: Alps ond Atlos

. The Africon plote collided with the Eurosion plofe fo form the Alps qnd the Atlqs

. In the Europeon Alps, ihdividqol rock slices colled thrust sheets ( noppes: iqble
cloth in French) ore corried nony tens of kilometers over the underlying rock.
They moy be thrusl over the oih€r fo form o greot pile.
. The Alps ore still octively being uplifted by compressionol forces. .

(c) 6.Londforms ond Phehonehq oi Tronsforn (Cons€rvotive) boundories

f\o di5lirrct lq(dforml

EAQrHoilfl[e5ldLo11 [Vl Volucrltlic aclitlity

Known 05 conservotive plote norgin becouse crustdl rocks ore being neither creoted or

Occur when two plotes move porollel or neorly porollel to eoch oiher.

The sheoring motion ocross foult produces ridqes ond trouqhs thot ruh porollel to the

. Shollow eorthquokes do toke ploce i.e. son Froncisco Eorthquoke of 1906 but no
incidence of vulconiciiy becduse lhere is no subductioh of ploles or upwelling of rnogrno.

Eg#1: The san Andreas Faulf is a lransfo n plote baundary seporoting lhe Pacific Plale to the
wdt of if fron the North Anerican Plate tn the east

Eg #2: l4iddle Easf, where the Arabian Plate is sliding posl northwards the African Plate along a
huge troneform fau/t This has crealed sone 9!llL9!l!!-!dgtdles! such as the Dead 5ea, 6ulf of
Aqabo, Sea of 6a/ilee and Lake Baikol

Fi9; Conservotive Plole Boundory

es / e ort h S ci / 7 ect ani cs / images/ cons

Conserualive pleie margin aa,thquate rui @

€ .onr,nu.rut prnr.'
Fg: san Andreos Foulf. sepordting
the Pdcific Plofe from th€ North
Americdn Plofe
hlI pt / / www.scec.or o / walloceq eek/ o

Fig: Tronsforn plote boundory in

the Middle East

pln!?bqr hdFwrsrqn h!t.Thi5 hxoplild upr r! b.,ol

(c) Distribution ond forrnotion of Londforms ond phenomeno BEYOND plcte
Active Volcanoes, Plale Tectonics, and the "Ring of Fire'

Eu.asian Plate \ -- ) '

''Rjng of Fite '

Fig 4r D,\lflbur'on of vor. dnoes Wo.ldhrde

. Not all londforms ond phenorneno occur olong plole bolindories.

. 5pecificolly, not oll volconic ocfivity con be explcined by plote hovement.
. In foct, 57" o{ lhe worlds volcdnrc ociiviiies do nof occur neor plote
boundories. In steod, they the rniddle of plotes
. This con be qttrrbufed to the occurrence of hof spofs

Formotaon of "hot spof" volconic dctivity

Spreading Ptum-
Hot Spot

Fig 44: Hol spots ond mdntle plumes Fig 45: Move'r.e l of plote ov€r d hot spot

. Hot spof tef ets to a locotion on the earth's surfoce lhoi is subJecled to
volconic octivify.

. The ideo of hol spots wqs first estoblished in 1963 by J Tuzo Wilson, the
Conodiqn geophysicisi !!ho discovered tronsform faults, from ob5ervolions of
Ihe geology of these islonds.

. This volconic octivity is the resqlf of nontle pl']nes. (Fig 44)

. l^ontle plunes ore isoloted. lonq. slender columns of mcgmo ihoi r,se slowly
towords the's surface.

. As these nontle plumes reoch the eorlh's surfqce. the heal coused by ihe
magno will "burn" a hole through ihe continentol crust , thereby providing on
opporiqnity for mognq to reoch the ecrth's surfoce.
> Daometers of montle plumesr lOO 240 kn
r Rising rote of montle plumes : the magna rises at rofes of 2 m per
> Depths; Originafe at depths of mote than 7OO kn tn the nantle or
even at fhe core-nantle boundaty

. This contributes to isolofed volconic ocfivitv -one or c feu/ volconoes rnJhe

overlyinq lilhosphere
wo,t+ ,h4rge porit. Dn
. The lo.oions of monfle plumes oae stofionory ond ore independent of plote

. As o lithospheric plofe moves over the (oppo.ently) stqtionory montle plume. the
volcqnoes die. ond the plumes forms o new centre of volconic ociivity.

. Thus, monlle plumes leove troils of volconoes in fhe overlyinq plo1e. (Fig 45)

. By cqlculoting the oge of Ihese volconoes, we con tell both speed ond direction
of plofe movemenl with respect to the montle plumes.

. Anolysis showed thot the bosqlt erupted from hoi spots rs drfferent from the
bosolt thot forms from the upper nontle ot spreoding centres-

. This as believed lo 6e dne to the lovos being derived from well below the

. Mqy be temporory feaiures - typicol life spons: 1OO million yeors

Distribltioh of Hot spots:

EXPLAS.IATION .'--. T.aftllorm pl.!s tlounda.i€s-

Oivd.qenr platc !avndorlci- Wt! 6.c rrq{ b .cithe. t}rodqc.d
Wli€.e dew c.ust ir€d aor d6stroy.d ft Fl6166 6lide
it t114 gtat{i pqll sw.y trom horl!.dt6lly prJt €o.n othet
Pr",. b"u"dd.v zones Broad
hcltr in whilh d.lo.mrlion i.
Coov€rg€nt plst€ ho{
Where c.ui i3.nnri,flrrd;n rh. ditf!s6 d.! bouodr.ier rr€ nor
t.rtrr'r inrcri4. x$ ona pldle wnll dollded
d;vdt !ndE. a.o!h6r.
e S€lec ted proftlie(r lrotsAo!t
Figlre 46: Distribution of Hot spots.

. While hot spots con occur in fhe middle of plotes, they con olso occur nedr or
ot plole boundqries.

. Most of the world's oclive hot spots ore locoted in the middle ( ond oi the
edges) of Ihe Pc.cific ond Afric(Jn plale.

. Exqmples of volconic dcfivities ossocioled with hot spots include Howoiion

rslonds ond yellowstone Nqlronol Pork

Cqse Study: The Howoiion Islqnds

Hdone pknp rlporl r151Jr rourUrF, or mlgna noT r1a, oi flr pr lh oLtl tlo .,Lr d.he r.n*" ,.,
O'n,, O,
kicaisv.l6iir "t.rilr" rr(h & lia llapaiian htlidr " 'n".

t10[ir,l c41tfi (0i!

F,9 47: Formoiion of Howoaadn Islqnds

locoTed qf o fixed spot

Conveclive pllines rise from the lower mantle ond lhe magmo is exl.uded onto
the oceanic plote.

As the Pocific pldte move ocross fhis hoi spol, mogmo extTusion i5 continued dt
one site while the previously extruded volconoes ore coTried awoy on the movrng
plate (Fig 47)

Howoii is the youngest islond in the group. If is slill octive dnd lies ot the
southwestern end of the ch(rin

The islonds become progressively older to the norfh wesl ond oll ore voiconic
buf extinci

The oldest volconic rocks on Kouoi, the norihwesfern most inhobited Howorron
islond, ore oboqt 5-5 rnillaon yeors old ond are deeply eroded. By comporison, on
the "Big Islond" of Hdv/oii - southeosternmost in fhe choin ond presamobly strll

positioned over the hotspot the oldesf exposed rocks ore less thon O 7 million
yeors old ond new volcanic rock is continuolly beinq formed (Fig 48)

l tig 4a: Age of Hoqraiion islonds

"A" Level Quesfion: Plofe boundories ond their ossocicted
londforms and phenomena I

To whot extenf con the plale tecfonics theory exploin the

distribufion ond formction of lorge scale londforms?


How con we use the Plote tectonics theory to exploin the fornotion ond location ol
lorge scole londforms2 Con Plote tectonics theory be used to exploin the formclion
ond locstion of all large scole landforms?


Question hos two porfs which condidoles mu5t oddress:

1) How can we use p/ate tecfonics theory to explain fhe fomafion and dBtrtbution
of landiarms.>

) Condidotes need fo provrde o detiniiion of pl.rte rectonics theo.y and o bref overwevt of As expldined byPioie tecronic theory. cdn.l,dotes n]uji stdte thot most of
ihe molor landforms orc lor:ote,l olong pidte bounddrrcj of rhe pldte recronrca
rheory ( section 10)

t Condidotes nust select ol least 3londforms ond describe ih€ disrribuiion of these
{ondforms olong the plote boundo.res: Disrribufionof ptste boqndoraes (Section Zo)

> candtdotes will ne€d to expld,n rh€ fornrarron of rhese fyper of landforms or ihe
dilterenl plote boundcfles: Distriburjon ond formotion of ond phenom€no or
differeht plote bosndories (seclion 2b)

2) What is lhe limifaflon of plate tecfontcs theory in explainng the fornation and
dtst.ibu trcn of landforns2
) Candidotes must exploin thot plofe tectqnics rh€ory connor expld,n ihe forlnorjon of oll
landforms: Distribution ond fo.motion of Landforms ond phenoheno BEyONO ptdte
boqndories ( Section 2c)