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Plate Tectonics

A Land in Motion : Although we think of the land on Earth as being fixed and stable, it turns out that it is constantly moving. This movement is way too slow for us to notice, however, because it only moves between one to 6 inches per year. It takes millions of years for the land to move a significant amount.

The Lithosphere: The part of the land that is moving is the Earth's surface called the lithosphere. The lithosphere is made up of the Earth's crust and a part of the upper mantle. The lithosphere moves in big chunks of land called tectonic plates. Some of these plates are huge and cover entire continents.

Major and Minor Tectonic Plates: Most of the Earth is covered by seven major plates and another eight or so minor plates. The seven major plates include the African, Antarctic, Eurasian, North American, South American, India-Australian, and the Pacific plates. Some of the minor plates include the Arabian, Caribbean, Nazca, and Scotia plates.

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