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Plate Tectonics

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Interactive Internet Sites Videos Books & Maps top
All About Plate Tectonics - Interactive and colorful site on plate tectonics
Magnetostratigraphy - Magnetostratigraphy is a chronostratigraphic technique used to date sedimentary and volcanic stratigraphic sections. Learn about it at this site.
On-Line TUTORIAL: This site was designed to allow students to interactively learn about Plate Tectonics and related phenomena. There are learning modules and activity modules. Learning modules are mostly text with little interaction. Students who function at different levels may use this site. The Southern California Integrated GPS Network Education Module.
On-Line TUTORIAL: A tour of volcanoes in the United States. It is an excellent tutorial in volcanism. Teachers will find this site useful as will middle and high school students. This site also includes a great tutorial on Plate Tectonics. United State Geological Survey.
On-Line TUTORIAL: This site was designed to allow students to interactively learn about Plate Tectonics and related phenomena. There are learning modules and activity modules. Learning modules are mostly text with little interaction. Students who function at different levels may use this site. The Southern California Integrated GPS Network Education Module.
PBS: Mountain Maker, Earth Shaker - Move any of the four tectonic plates to start an earthquake, make land masses collide, spread the seas, or initiate your own continental drift.
Plate Motion - Daily position estimates are determined from satellite signals which are recorded by GPS receivers on the ground. Data from the IGS, SCIGN, BARD, CORS, BARGEN, and PANGA networks have been analyzed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA Institute of Technology.. Horizontal velocities, mostly due to motion of the Earth's tectonic plates and deformation in plate boundary zones, are represented on the maps by arrows extending from each site.
Plate Motion Calculator - online plate velocity calculator from UNAVCO.
Tasa Graphic Arts Company - has produced state of the art multimedia products for use in the Earth Science and Environment Science Classrooms. Of particular interest are interactive CD-ROMs on the Theory of Plate Tectonics, Plate Tectonics and How the Earth Works, the Dynamic Earth, Plate Tectonics 3-D Puzzle, as well as Hands-On Mineral Identification and the Wonder of Rocks and Minerals, among others. They provide online ordering. To receive a 15% discount for teachers who visit the GSA website, contact Tasa Graphic Arts to receive a special web address and discount code., e-mail:, phone: 1-800-293-2725 or (505) 758-5535.
This Dynamic Earth - Read about plate tectonics and continental drift, the development of the theory, and unanswered questions.
Transforming California is a PowerPoint presentation of digital images exploring the landforms found along the San Andreas Fault. Designed for classroom use, Transforming California has a complementing narrative for each slide.
Interactive Internet Sites Videos Books & Maps top
Earth Revealed - Continuously aired on PBS, this video series is for high school and undergraduate students. 5. The Birth of a Theory - In the 1960s, earth scientists developed the theory of plate tectonics. This program traces the development of plate tectonics, beginning with the contributions and methods of geologist Alfred Wegener. Sea-floor spreading, continental drift, paleomagnetism, and the primordial supercontinent Pangaea are some of the topics covered. 6. Plate Dynamics - This program examines the movement and interaction of tectonic plates, which account for a vast array of geologic formations and phenomena - from California's San Andreas Fault to the Rift Valley of eastern Africa. The program covers convergent boundaries, subduction, hotspots, and the debate over what drives plate motion. 10. Geologic Time - To illustrate the immensity of geologic time, the entire span of Earth's existence is compressed down to a year. The timeline of major geologic events is superimposed onto the year for a condensed view of Earth's evolution. A relationship between this timeline and that of life on Earth is established, with fossils and radiocarbon dating playing a major role in the discovery. Annenberg/CPB Resources. Site has current broadcast dates and info on how to purchase videos, textbook, study guide, and teacher guide.
The Living Planet - from the series Planet Earth, narrated by Richard Kiley ($13.29 for CD; 403 minutes). This entire series of videos sets out to explore our world in a different way. Examine such diverse topics as the effect of termites on global warming and the search for Nemesis, the hypothesized mystery planetoid that may be responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs. Includes seven parts narrated by Richard Kiley: "The Living Machine," "The Blue Planet," "The Climate Puzzle," "Tales From Other Worlds," "The Solar Sea," "Gifts From the Earth," and "The Fate of the Earth."
Available from most science video catalogs, or order from for only $13.29 for the CD at press time ($78.49 for the VHS box set).
NOVA episode "Magnetic Storm" - A great illustration of how the magnetic field works, what its "function" is, and the changes that take place within it. Can be purchased at: There are also several activities and print resources available at the NOVA website.
The Southern Appalachians: A Changing World - by Anne Tubiolo and Sandra Clark in cooperation with the National Park Service. 25-minute VHS. The video describes the Southern Appalachian Mountains and how the geologic events that took place millions of years ago influence the landscape, climate, soils and living things there today. The kit includes a teacher's guide, also available at: The educational kit is $15 plus $5 shipping and handling per order, and may be ordered from: USGS Informational Services, Box 25286, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, Tel: 888-ASK-USGS; Fax: 303-202-4693. A companion brochure, Birth of the Mountains, by Sandra Clark, is available free of charge at the above address, or online.
Treasures of Neptune: Klondike on the Ocean Floor - ($149.00; 26 min). Looks at the relationship between plate tectonics and marine mineral deposits; shows how the ocean floor is being mapped and looks at recovery systems for marine resources including underwater scoops and shovels and giant "vacuum cleaners".
Order from Films for the Humanities & Sciences, P.O. Box 2053; Princeton, N. J. 08543-2053; phone 1-800-257-5126.
Interactive Internet Sites Videos Books & Maps top

This Dynamic Planet  -  The USGS - Smithsonian map includes vectors indicating the rate of plate movement around the world.  It is a printed map for sale by the USGS (1 888 ASK USGS) and also an online web-GIS mapping application, on:

The Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Geology of the Northeastern U.S. by Jane Ansley, 2000. Written as a teacher preparation and information resource, this guide provides teachers with background on the regional geology of the Northeast. Ties in national science education standards and inquiry-based teaching. Contains corresponding student activities for each topic. Designed for middle and high school level science teachers but applicable to any level. Paleontological Research Institution Publications, 1259 Trumansburg Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850; (, $25.


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