Relationship between earthquake and plate boundaries

Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics

relationship between earthquake and plate boundaries

Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench The most active divergent plate boundaries are between oceanic plates and are often. Question: What is the connection between earthquakes and tectonic Most of the earthquakes in the Earth occur at plate boundaries due to. What is the relationship between volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate-tectonics? Plate tectonics is the over-lying theory presently used by most Earth Scientists to .

Benioff zones are closely associated with the subduction of a crustal plate below an adjacent plate. Almost all earthquakes occur at the edges of the crustal plates. The constant bumping, grinding, and lateral movement along crustal boundaries can create sudden movements that result in earthquakes.

Tectonic Plates, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes | PBS LearningMedia

Each of the three types of plate boundaries—convergent, divergent, and transform—has a distinctive pattern of earthquakes. There are two kinds of convergent boundaries: A subduction boundary is marked by the oceanic crust of one plate that is being pushed downward beneath the continental or oceanic crust of another plate.

A collision boundary separates two continental plates that are pushed into contact; the suture zone is the line of collision. Both types of boundaries have distinctive earthquake patterns.

Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur along plate boundaries in zones that may be anything from a few kilometres to a few hundred kilometres wide.

Earthquakes Tectonic Plates and Fault Lines

To watch a simulated fly-by along New Zealand's plate boundary check out this video. There are three main types of plate boundaries: Subduction zones occur when one or both of the tectonic plates are composed of oceanic crust. The denser plate is subducted underneath the less dense plate. The plate being forced under is eventually melted and destroyed.

  • Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics

Where oceanic crust meets ocean crust Island arcs and oceanic trenches occur when both of the plates are made of oceanic crust. Zones of active seafloor spreading can also occur behind the island arc, known as back-arc basins.

Tectonic Plates and Plate Boundaries

As crust moves away from the ridge it cools and sinks. The lateral offsets in the ridge are joined by transform faults.

A satellite view of the Sinai shows two arms of the Red Sea spreading ridge, exposed on land.

relationship between earthquake and plate boundaries

This synthetic perspective of a large volcano on Venus is looking up the large rift on its flank. Transforms tend to have earthquakes smaller than magnitude 8.

relationship between earthquake and plate boundaries

The San Andreas fault in California is a nearby example of a transform, separating the Pacific from the North American plate. At transforms the plates mostly slide past each other laterally, producing less sinking or lifing of the ground than extensional or compressional environments.

The yellow dots below locate earthquakes along strands of this fault system in the San Francisco Bay area.

relationship between earthquake and plate boundaries

Compressional boundaries host Earth's largest quakes, with some events on subduction zones in Alaska and Chile having exceeded magnitude 9. This oblique orbital view looking east over Indonesia shows the clouded tops of the chain of large volcanoes.

relationship between earthquake and plate boundaries

The topography below shows the Indian plate, streaked by hotspot traces and healed transforms, subducting at the Javan Trench. Sometimes continental sections of plates collide; both are too light for subduction to occur.


The satellite image below shows the bent and rippled rock layers of the Zagros Mountains in southern Iran, where the Arabian plate is impacting the Iranian plate. The Great Basin shares some features with the great Tibetan and Anatolian plateaus.

relationship between earthquake and plate boundaries

All three have large areas of high elevation, and show varying amounts of rifting and extension distributed across the regions.