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Earth’s biggest exposed fault

Sometimes the cracks are tiny, as thin as hair, with barely noticeable movement between the rock layers. There are three kinds of faults: strike-slip, normal and thrust reverse faults, said Nicholas van der Elst, a seismologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. Each type is the outcome of different forces pushing or pulling on the crust, causing rocks to slide up, down or past each other.

The Early Earth and Plate Tectonics

Both the San Andreas and Anatolian Faults are strike-slip. Two blocks of crust pull apart, stretching the crust into a valley. Reverse faults , also called thrust faults, slide one block of crust on top of another. These faults are commonly found in collisions zones, where tectonic plates push up mountain ranges such as the Himalayas and the Rocky Mountains. Strike-slip faults are usually vertical, while normal and reverse faults are often at an angle to the surface of the Earth.

All faults are related to the movement of Earth's tectonic plates. OneGeology Kids Page: Earthquakes. Denali Rocks! Geology of Devils Tower Views Module. Hot Spot.

A Map of Tectonic Plates and Their Boundaries

Students learn about the Mantle Plume Theory, plate tectonics, and Idaho geography by experimenting with a map of Idaho. Trista L. Thornberry-Ehrlich, Colorado State University. Modified from: R. Parks and Plates. Explore This Park. Plate Tectonics. NPS photo by Dale Pate.


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Introduction We live on a layer of Earth known as the lithosphere which is a collection of rigid slabs that are shifting and sliding into each other. Earth's Crust.

The crust is the thin, solid, outermost layer of the Earth. The crust is thinnest beneath the oceans, averaging only 5 kilometers thick, and thickest beneath large mountain ranges. Continental crust is much more variable in thickness but averages about km. Beneath large mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas or the Sierra Nevada, the crust reaches a thickness of up to km.

Plate tectonics and continental drift

Earth's Mantle. The layer below the crust is the mantle. The mantle has more iron and magnesium than the crust, making it more dense. The uppermost part of the mantle is solid and, along with the crust, forms the lithosphere. The rocky lithosphere is brittle and can fracture. This is the zone where earthquakes occur. The weak zones healed relatively quickly and the planet was never able to develop plate tectonics.

Plate boundaries

Venus' plates never trapped CO2, never cooled, and the impact on the planet's atmosphere makes it uninhabitable. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Leslie Baehr.

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