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Department of Environmental Sciences

Climatology

Submitted To : Ma’am Rabia Shezadi

Submitted By : Maryam Asghar

Aeerena Naqsh-e-dil Khan

Amina Liaquat
EFFECTS OF PLATE TECTONICS ON
CLIMATOLOGY

PLATE TECTONICS:
From the deepest ocean trench to the tallest mountain, plate tectonics explains the
features and movement of Earth's surface in the present and the past.

Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth's outer shell is divided into several plates that glide
over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core. The plates act like a hard and rigid
shell compared to Earth's mantle. This strong outer layer is called the lithosphere, which
is 100 km (60 miles) thick,

CONCEPT OF PLATE TECTONICS:


The concept of plate tectonics was formulated in the 1960s. According to the theory,
Earth has a rigid outer layer, known as the lithosphere, which is typically about 100 km
(60 miles) thick and overlies a plastic (moldable, partially molten) layer called
the asthenosphere. The lithosphere is broken up into seven very large continental- and
ocean-sized plates, six or seven medium-sized regional plates, and several small ones.
These plates move relative to each other, typically at rates of 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches)
per year, and interact along their boundaries, where they converge, diverge, or slip past
one another.
BASE OF PLATE TECTONICS:
The theory of plate tectonics is based on a broad synthesis of geologic and geophysical
data. It is now almost universally accepted, and its adoption represents a true scientific
revolution, analogous in its consequences to quantum mechanics in physics or the
discovery of the genetic code in biology. Incorporating the much older idea
of continental drift.

TYPES OF PLATE TECTONICS:


There are three kinds of plate tectonics boundaries:

 divergent plate boundaries


 convergent plate boundaries
 transform plate boundaries

MOVEMENT OF PLATE TECTONICS:


The movement of these tectonics plates is likely caused by convection currents in the
molten rock in earth’s mantle below the crust. Earthquakes and volcanoes are the short-
term result so this tectonic movement. The long-term result of plate tectonics is
the movement of entire continents over millions of years.

PRINCIPLES OF PLATE TECTONICS:


 Plate-tectonic theory is elegantly simple. Earth’s surface layer, 50 to 100 km (30
to 60 miles) thick, is rigid and is composed of a set of large and small plates.
 Together, these plates constitute the lithosphere, from the Greek litho, meaning
“rock.” The lithosphere rests on and slides over an underlying partially molten
(and thus weaker but generally denser) layer of plastic partially
molten rock known as the asthenosphere, from the Greek asthenos, meaning
“weak.”
 Plate movement is possible because the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary is a
zone of detachment. As the lithosphere plates move across Earth’s surface, driven
by forces as yet not fully understood, they interact along their boundaries,
diverging, converging, or slipping past each other.

The process of plate tectonics may be driven by convection in Earth’s mantle, the pull of
heavy old pieces of crust into the mantle, or some combination of both.
HOW DO PLATE TECTONICS AFFECT CLIMATE?
Warm air might be deflected somewhere cooler by the mountains. Volcanoes affect
the climate through the gases and dust particles thrown into the atmosphere during
eruptions. The effect of the volcanic gases and dust may warm or cool the Earth's surface,
depending on how sunlight interacts with the volcanic material.

GENERATION OF VOLCANIC ACTIVITY DUE TO PLATE


TECTONICS:

 Theory of Plate Tectonics - Continental Drift


 Earths outer shell is composed of plates.
 they move at a rate of about 3 cm per year
 affect of more land at higher latitudes:
o alter ocean currents and therefore heat transport
o alter global atmospheric circulation
o More glaciers over land, higher albedo, cooler temps.
 plate movement also generates more volcanic activity
o hence, when the plates are on the move, have more volcanic eruptions ->
emit more CO2 into atmosphere
o This would cause global temps to rise.
o if there is little movement, volcanic activity decreases -> so
CO2 concentrations are lower in the atmosphere temp decreases
INFLUENCE OF PLATE TECTONICS ON CLIMATE:

 Subduction creates volcanoes. Eruptions throw sulfur high into the atmosphere.
The sulfur small small particles which reflect the Sun's light and cool the planet.
The particles stay airborne for a long time, sometimes a few years.
 Volcanoes also emit gases, notably carbon dioxide, which directly traps solar heat
via the greenhouse effect. Massive eruptions are thought to have caused the
greatest mass extinction ever at the end of the Permian era.
 Subduction can build high mountain chains. The Himalayas, Alps, and Andes
were all formed this way. The mountains are so high that they change the way the
atmosphere flows. That changes the weather patterns for millions of years.
 Subduction of the Indian plate under Eurasia raised the Tibet plateau (also the
Altiplano in South America). The climate on these high plateaus is very different
just because they are at such altitude.
 Mountains are more rapidly eroded than flat land. Chemical weathering of rock
absorbs carbon dioxide and affects the global climate.

HOW DO PLATE TECTONICS RECYCLE CARBON?


Through plate tectonics mountains are formed when plates collide and weathering of the
mountains removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and puts it onto the ocean floor.
Through plate tectonics, the limestone and other carbonate minerals are carried to
subduction zones where they are melted.
REFERENCES:
Trewartha, G. T. (1968). An Introduction to Climate. McGraw-Hill. p. 408.

Fluteau, F.; Ramstein, G.; Besse, J. (1999). "Simulating the evolution of the Asian and African monsoons
during the past 30 Myr using an atmospheric general circulation model". Journal of Geophysical
Research. 104: 11, 995–1012, 1018.

Bluth, G. J. S.; et al. (1993). "The contribution of explosive volcanism to global atmospheric sulphur dioxide
concentrations". Nature. 366: 327–329.

Masek, J.G.; et al. (1994). "Erosion and tectonics at the margins of continental plateaus". Journal of
Geophysical Research. 99: 13, 941–13, 956.