Study Guide – Plate Tectonics


Key questions that will be answered…..


Global tectonic processes

What is plate tectonics?

What are tectonic plates?

What are the different types of plate boundaries?

What is the global distribution of the plate boundaries?

What processes are associated with constructive, destructive and conservative plate boundaries?



Tectonic hazards

What are the hazards associated with earthquakes?

What are the hazards associated with volcanic activity?

How do these hazards vary in their threat to people in terms of:

  • Location and type of plate boundary
  • intensity of activity
  • level of economic development of the country in which the event occurred.


Impacts of tectonic activity

What are the demographic impacts of tectonic hazards?

What are the social impacts of tectonic hazards?

What are the economic impacts of tectonic hazards?

How are these impacts evident on a local scale?

How are these impacts evident on a regional scale?



Responses to tectonic hazards – Perception and Management

How do different groups of people perceive the hazards posed by tectonic activity? (local people, tourists, planners, businesses, governments)

What strategies can be used to manage and reduce the impact of tectonic events?

How effective are these management strategies?




Some key terms you should be familiar with…..


Plate tectonics    Tectonic plate    Lithosphere    Asthenosphere    Plate movement    Destructive boundaries    Conservative boundaries    Constructive boundaries

Subduction zone    Benioff zone    Mid ocean ridge    Primary hazards    Secondary hazards    Fault    Focus    Epicenter    Seismic waves    Stress    Magnitude

Richter scale    Intensity    Mercalli scale    Ground shaking    Liquefaction    Landsliding    Tsunami    Magma    Lava    Eruption    Viscosity   Pyroclastic flows

Ash fall   Lahars   Tectonic hazard map   Land-use planning    Hazard-resistant design    Prediction and warning    Community preparedness  Hazard modification.



Books – Waugh, Bishop

Geofactsheets – No. 164, No. 133, No. 30

Websites – USGS, British Geological Survey

Others -