Tectonic plates, the massive slabs of Earth’s lithosphere that help define our continents and ocean, are constantly on the move. Plate tectonics is driven by a variety of forces: dynamic movement in the mantle, dense oceanic crust interacting with the ductile asthenosphere, even the rotation of the planet.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry asthenosphere Noun
layer in Earth's mantle between the lithosphere (above) and the upper mantle (below).
one of the seven main land masses on Earth.
Encyclopedic Entry: continent dense Adjective
having parts or molecules that are packed closely together.
ductile Adjective capable of withstanding a certain amount of force by changing form before fracturing or breaking. geologic Adjective
having to do with the physical formations of the Earth.
person who studies the physical formations of the Earth.
outer, solid portion of the Earth. Also called the geosphere.
Encyclopedic Entry: lithosphere mantle Noun
middle layer of the Earth, made of mostly solid rock.
Encyclopedic Entry: mantle massive Adjective
very large or heavy.
oceanic crust Noun
thin layer of the Earth that sits beneath ocean basins.
plate tectonics Noun
movement and interaction of the Earth's plates.
object's complete turn around its own axis.
Encyclopedic Entry: rotation tectonic plate Noun
massive slab of solid rock made up of Earth's lithosphere (crust and upper mantle). Also called lithospheric plate.