Free course

Plate Tectonics

Free statement of participation on completion

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 has strong visual appeal. In this 15-hour free course 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.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, 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
  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms of crustal growth and transfer of heat at spreading ocean ridges
  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the three main types of plate boundary (constructive, destructive and conservative) and how they interact at triple junctions
  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the difference between relative and true plate motion
  • demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the driving and retarding forces that influence plate motion at constructive, destructive and conservative plate boundaries.

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

Course content