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Distribution of LAND areas and major OCEANS on EARTH

By observing the fast and continuous expansion of the universe, modern astronomers have formulated the BIG BANG theory. y
By measuring the rate of expansion, they calculated that this event must have taken place about 14 billion (14 000 million) years ago. NOTE : Earths age is 4600 million years.

T i m e

l i n e

9400 my EARTH BIG BANG 14 000 million years before TODAY


4600 my TODAY

As a result of this explosion, all matter must have been in a state of PLASMA, consisting of a gas made of Hydrogen and Helium ions Later, this PLASMA started to condense around centers to form GALAXIES, consisting of billions of NEBULAs. At the same time, atomic fusion started to produce heavier atoms of new elements Our Solar System is located in one of these galaxies: The MILKY WAY GALAXY

Solar Nebula Theory y is at p present accepted p for the formation of Earth

a) CONDENSATION into planetesimals

b) Rotation of planetesimals about local centers

c) Concentration into PLANETs, MOONs, ASTEROIDs and dust, by accretion of molecules and various particles (planetesimals)

d) Formation of the SUN by fusion under Gravity


e) ) The SOLAR SYSTEM is formed 4.6 billion years (4600 million years) before present (BP)




Mantle (complex)

D zone

Lithosphere Lith h is i NOT a continuous ti shell; h ll it i is b broken k i into t a number b fragments. Each of these fragments are called a PLATE. Each plate may be composed of either total SIMA (oceanic crust) , or total SIAL (continental crust), or partly SIMA and partly SIAL.

Total SIMA (oceanic crust) and subcrust

Total SIAL (continental crust) and subcrust

Partly SIAL and partly SIMA with subcrust

Major plates of the Lithosphere


O Ocean

D: D 1 1.2 2

1 10 k km

Continental Crust
D: 2.7 v= 6.0 km/s

Oceanic Crust
D 3 D: 3.0 0

20 90 km thick

v=6.5 km/s 3 10 k km

S b Subcrust t Subcrust
D: 3.3 30 100 km thick v= 8.0 km/s

A S T H E N O S P H E R E (Low velocity zone)

D: 4.5 250 km thick v= 7.5 km/s

Note : Seismic velocities are given for P-waves, whereas S-wave velocities are about 2 km/s slower than P-waves. Note : D = Average density of the rock (gr/cm3)

African Plate
Continental Plate SIAL
Granitic crust

Oceanic Plate SIMA

Basaltic crust

Major plates of the Lithosphere

Heat circulation in the MANTLE produces Convection Cells

1 Divergent 1Di t Pl Plates t

SIAL (Silicium + Aluminum)

SIMA (Silicium + Magnesium)

2- Convergent Plates

Granitic crust SIAL

(subcrust) ( )


Subduction Zone

Transform boundaries mostly occur between two oceanic ridges. On the ocean floor they are observed as fracture zones zones.

Looking from above

Rift f (Ridge) ( ) Transform fault

Simple fault

Transform boundary between two oceanic plates may also occur b t between ridge id and d t trench, h or sometimes ti b between t two t trenches. t h

Collision of two Continents

Continental Plate Continental Plate



European plate



African Plate

Arabian plate

Indian Plate

Convergent Convergent plate plate boundary boundary

Trench Trench Oceanic Oceanic crust crust Subcrust Subcrust Asthenosphere Asthenosphere

Oceanic Oceanic plate plate

Magma Magma chamber chamber Upwelling Upwelling Subduction Subduction zone zone Convection Convection cell cell