from The Open University
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
The Met: Policing London: Episode FourThursday, 2nd July 2015 00:10 - BBC OneThis episode of OU/BBC's The Met: Policing London looks at tackling the city's crime after dark - from... Read more: The Met: Policing London: Episode Four
The Met: Policing London: Episode FourThursday, 2nd July 2015 01:00 - BBC One
The Bottom Line: Summer 2015: The Bottom Line - Burger BattlesThursday, 2nd July 2015 20:30 - BBC Radio 4
The Bank: Love and MoneyThursday, 2nd July 2015 23:20 - BBC Two
The Bank: Love and MoneyAvailable until Sunday, 2nd August 2015 00:50The second episode of The Bank looks at love in relation to money - with everything from engagements, marriage,... Read more: The Bank: Love and Money
The Met: Policing London: Episode FourAvailable until Monday, 6th July 2015 22:00
Thinking Allowed: Factory music and volunteering post-recessionAvailable for over a year
Thinking Allowed: White working class boys and French thoughtAvailable for over a year
Discover a world of learningThanks for your response. We’ve put together a selection of free content below to expand your... Read more: Discover a world of learning
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
The role of the managerThis free course, The role of the manager, examines the manager role in theory and in practice.... Try: The role of the manager now
English: skills for learningThis course is for anybody who is thinking of studying for a university degree and would like to... Try: English: skills for learning now
Plate tectonics is an earth sciences topic that attracts a good deal of interest, given...
Plate tectonics is an earth sciences topic that attracts a good deal of interest, given that it a topic very often featured in popular science programmes on TV and radio. It is a subject that have strong visual appeal. The coverage is self-contained, up to date and is written in a way that will be accessible to those with interest and motivation, all the more so for those who have some pre-existing scientific understanding.
After studying this unit you should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of:
- the theory of tectonic plates and the different forms of evidence (e.g. palaeontology, palaeomagnetism, continuity of structures etc.) that can be used to understand the movement of the lithospheric plates over geological time;
- the mechanisms of crustal growth and transfer of heat at spreading ocean ridges;
- the three main types of plate boundary (constructive, destructive and conservative) and how they interact at triple junctions;
- the difference between relative and true plate motion;
- the driving and retarding forces that influence plate motion at constructive, destructive and conservative plate boundaries.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Preamble: the moving Earth
- 2 From continental drift to plate tectonics
- 2.1 Continental drift
- 2.2 Evidence for continental drift
- 2.3 Sea-floor spreading
- 3 The theory of plate tectonics
- 3.1 Assumptions
- 3.2 Heat flow within plates
- 3.3 Constructive plate boundaries
- 3.4 Destructive plate boundaries
- 3.5 Destructive plate boundaries, continued: ocean-ocean (island-arc) subduction
- 3.6 Destructive plate boundaries, continued: ocean-continent (Andean type) subduction
- 3.7 Destructive plate boundaries, continued: continent-continent destructive boundaries
- 3.8 Conservative plate boundaries and transform faults
- 3.9 Triple junctions
- 4 Plate tectonic motion
- 5 Plate driving forces
- 5.1 Why do plates move?
- 5.2 Forces acting upon lithospheric plates
- 5.6 Implications of plate tectonics
- 5.7 Summary
- 5.8 Further reading
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
In this unit, you will examine how the evidence for the movement of continents was gathered and how this movement relates to, and generates, geological features and phenomena such as ocean basins, mountain ranges, volcanoes and earthquakes. You will learn how and why the continents have moved, and continue to move, and the forces that drive them around our globe.
To get the most out of this unit you will need the latest Flash Player plug-in. You can download it here.
This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Geology courses or view the range of currently available OU Geology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 2nd June 2011
Last updated on: Tuesday, 17th April 2012
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
- Latest OpenLearn pages
- Latest pages from OpenLearn - Geology
- Latest pages tagged - highways
- Latest pages tagged - continental drift
- Latest pages tagged - Repo-to-maturity
- Latest pages tagged - palaeontology
- Latest pages tagged - financial risk
- Latest pages tagged - earthquakes
- Latest pages tagged - problems
- Latest pages tagged - S279_1
- Latest comments on this page