This unique addition to reference literature provides an introduction to the major concepts and contemporary issues that are essential for students of environmental science and environmental studies to know. With over 200 entries authored by world-class names like Anthony Brazel, John Day and Edward Keller, this text is divided into six sections: Environmental Science, Environments, Paradigms & Concepts, Processes & Dynamics, Scales & Techniques, and Environmental Issues.  

Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics

Plate tectonics was defined by Dennis and Atwater (1974, p. 1031) as ‘A theory of global tectonics in which the lithosphere is divided into a number of plates whose pattern of horizontal movement is that of torsionally rigid bodies that interact with one another at their boundaries, causing seismic and tectonic activity along those boundaries’. Plate tectonics is a unifying theory, formulated in the mid-1960s from hypotheses expounded as early as 1915, that explains how mountains, ocean basins, and volcanoes form, and how earthquakes happen as a consequence of continuous movement of lithospheric ‘plates’ upon a convecting mantle. The theory states that the lithosphere is broken into a nine major ‘plates’ and six lesser ones that overlie the mantle much as the ...

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