Name_____________________________ Date________ Plate tectonics lab
Plate tectonics is the theory that very thick plates of Earth’s crust and mantle are sliding and shifting over the surface of the Earth. This lab will look at the forces that move the plates as well as where exactly the plates themselves are.
You know that volcanoes are produced by all three types of plate boundaries (less so by sliding boundaries). Go online and search for a world map of volcanoes. When you believe you have found a good map, get me before printing. Print it out. If you have trouble finding a decent site, ask me for some assistance. Draw a line connecting the volcanoes.
At this station, you are going to investigate factors that influence a plate’s ability to slide. Using a room temperature dry can, place it on the glass pane. Lift one end of the pane until the can begins to slide. Create a chart and record the angle at which it began to slide in the chart.
Next, play around with different things to see if you can get the can to slide at virtually no angle. Record the angle at which the can began to slide for each trial.
Based on your results, what are the factors that influence how easily a can slides? Draw inferences about what allows giant plates of rock to slide.
Knowing that earthquakes accompany all three types of plate boundaries, go online and search for a map of world earthquakes. When you believe you have found a good map, get me before printing. Then print it. If you have trouble finding a decent site, ask me for some assistance. Draw a line connecting the earthquakes.
At this station, you are going to see a convection current first hand. Fill both basins about half full with water. Set them on four “cup-legs”. Watch the demonstration carefully to see how to make the cup-legs. Let the water settle. Once settled, one of you is going to place food coloring in the tub at certain spots, while the other heats up water in a mug. In the first basin, you should put some on the bottom center and along the top edge. In the second basin, you should put coloring along the bottom edge and at the top center. As for heating the water, start with hot tap water and microwave it to heat it up more.
Once the water is hot and the basin is ready, place one cup of hot water under the center of basin one. Place one hot cup under the middle of both sides of basin two. Observe what happens to the food coloring. Draw a picture of each basin which shows what is happening to the color. If plates were floating on top of the water in your basins, which type of plate boundary if modeled by each set-up?
Look at your maps from station 1 and 3. Do they look the same? Why or why not?