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Land Feature Essay

1297 words - 5 pages

AbstractThis paper will discuss how the Pacific Southwest region was formed according to the theory of plate tectonics. It will explain the theory of plate tectonics, which is the theory of how the continents move around on the mantle, and identify factors that influence the location and intensity of earthquakes and volcanoes for the region. The San Andreas Fault located in California, is a crack in the crust of the earth and is the main factor behind the earthquakes that shake the Pacific Southwest. The fault causes earthquakes as the west side of the plates moves north. The paper will also describe the main movement within the plate tectonics theory that shaped the form and composition of the selected region. It will also discuss the various geological events that occurred and the various types of rocks that the geological events formed. Finally, the paper will discuss the importance and economic value of rocks in the Pacific Southwest.Explanation of the theory of plate tectonicsThe plate tectonic theory is an amazing theory. It begins with defining the lithosphere, which is the outer layer of the earth. The lithosphere is relativity thin compared to the rest of the Earth. The lithosphere lies on top of a much weaker substance that is constantly in motion. This is called the asthenosphere, which is weak because of being at a temperature that is close to the melting point. The lithosphere maintains a solid state that allows it to float atop the asthenosphere (Merali, Z., & Skinner, B. J., 2009). The lithosphere broke off into seven large plates, each of these plates expand thousands of kilometers. When tectonic plates slide against one another, split apart, or collide the result of this can be very devastating. The outcomes of these actions may cause earthquakes, formation of mountains, and volcanic eruptions. These actions usually occur along the fault line or where there may have been fractures.Identify factors that influence the location and intensity of earthquakes and volcanoes.In the southwestern region, the Pacific Plate and the North American plate meet. The Pacific Plate moves northwestward in comparison with the North American plate. The two plates slide past one another, although this is not a smooth transition because of the rocks being rough and typically ends with the plates becoming locked. When the plates become unlocked this is when the earthquakes occur because of all the energy that has been built up. This is the main factor of why intensive earthquakes occur in this region. The longer the plates are essentially locked the more powerful the earthquake will be. The Sand Andreas fault is one of the few faults that have cracked the surface. Along the San Andreas Fault there are five different segments, which extend 1100 kilometers. A factor that seems to influence where the higher intensity earthquakes are whether the land is in a constant motion. Along the one segment of the fault near the Coast Ranges the land is in a...

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