Earthquakes, mountains, tsunamis, and volcanoes are all related through the movement of tectonic plates. Volcanoes are located where tectonic plates meet, where they part, and at cracks and holes withing the plates. The Pacific Ring of Fire is the prime example of plates sliding beneath one another resulting in volcanic activity.
Earthquakes are common in the region of Indonesia and there are many volcanoes. The entire west coast of California is an earthquake zone and contains many volcanoes. Indonesia and California lie on the Pacific Ring of Fire where tectonic plates collide. On blank outline maps the kids marked locations of major volcanoes.
How the Earth was Made - The Deepest Place on Earth
The Marianas's Trench, the deepest place on Earth is the primary location at which land sinks back into the Earth's core. Originally discovered during the 1800's, it took almost a century before scientists could explain how it works. I highly recommend this video as well as other movies in the series.
Volcanoes: Journey to the Crater's Edge was an excellent non-fiction book to read in conjunction with this activity. It is a photo-filled picture book of volcanoes across the world. The introduction explains the ways volcanoes are created, and each subsequent page provides a few paragraphs detail on a different volcano or volcanic landscape.
Tectonic Plate Activity
Where plates slide apart magma can seep out. This phenomenon, known as sea floor spreading, results in the creation of new land. On place this occurs is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge beneath the surface of the ocean.
Following Janice VanCleave's A+ Projects in Earth Science: Winning Experiments for Science Fairs and Extra Credit we created a model of sea floor spreading.
Magnetic Field and Sea Floor Creation
As the magma forming new sea floor cools, the magnetic particles within the rock align with the Earth's magnetic field. Since the field has changed directions many times in the past, by matching aligned particles, rates of spreading can be calculated.
Land Sinking into the Mantle
As new land is created, some land returns to the center of the Earth.
Our Science Page contains more Earth Science Activities as well as activities on cells, plants, simple machines and the human body.
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