Plate Tectonics

Plate Tectonics is Earth's own internal combustion engine. But to fully appreciate Plate Tectonics, you need to know about Geologic Time and Geology itself . . .

For Earthquakes, Tsunamis, volcanoes and Super-volcanoes, visit the Geo-Hazards page → 

Journey to the Centre of the Earth
(Earth Rocks! 9:55)

Discovery of plate tectonics, seafloor spreading & subduction
(Earth.Parts#1: 11:15)

Animated Maps: Plate Tectonics
(Map version followed by globe version)
(ESRI 1:27)

Why there's a ring of disasters around the Pacific
(VOX: 6:34)

Interactive Plate Tectonics


Divergent, convergent and transform!

Earth's Structure and Plate Tectonics

hhmi EarthViewer

EarthViewer is an interactive visualization of Earth through the eons, eras and periods. Students move through time periods to see directly how Earth has changed. But it's not just about Plate Tectonics. EarthViewer connects changes on Earth with biological events, mass extinctions, and impact events.  As well, there are a number of in-depth pop-ups for the Greenhouse Effect, Mass Extinctions, Plate Tectonics and a number of other related topics.

Continental Drift and Alfred Wegener

Continental Drift over Time (USGS)

Continental Drift Animation
250mya - Present 

Jean Besse, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris via Caltech

Continental Drift from Pangaea to Today (ESRI 1:30)

Continental Drift and Alfred Wegener (Mike Sammartano 11:14)

Plate Movement and Boundaries

Earth Layers (to 3:35) and Isostacy
(Earth Rocks! 6:34)

Plate Tectonics Basics
(Earth Rocks! 11:39)

Plate Tectonics
(BBC Geography 4:12)

How India Crashed into Asia and Changed the World
(Think English 9:06)

1 billion years of plate movement in 40 seconds (EarthBytes)

Earth's Tectonic Plates

Tectonic Activity Map showing rates of plate movement

Smithsonian: Eruptions, Earthquakes and Emissions Interactive Map and Timeline Map of Pangaea with Current International Borders

Plate Tectonics Illustrations

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Earth's Tectonic Plates and Boundaries (Visual Capitalist)

Plate Tectonics
Geological Society

Plate Tectonics for KS2 & KS3 (Grades 4 to 9) from the Geological Society (Original PDF)

Plate Tectonics for KS4 & KS5 (Grades 10 to 12 + IB DP & AP) from the Geological Society (Original PDF)

The Power of Planet Earth - Volcano (BBC: 60min) - Excellent intro to Plate Tectonics

Origins of the continents and continental crust
(Earth.Parts#19: 11:51))

Continental collisions & mountain-building by orogeny
(Earth.Parts#20: 14:05)

Mountain-building - Himalayas
(TectonicsObservatory: 0:16)

Plates on the Move Interactive Website (ANMH)

Ancient Earth: Interactive Globe

View your home town through time

GeoBus: What is Plate Tectonics? (1:13)

Plate Tectonics Paleogeography & Ice Ages (1:39) (C.R. Scotese)

VOX:" Why there's a ring of disasters around the Pacific (6:34)

GeoBus: What are the types of Plate Boundaries (1:13)

PBS: Tectonic Plates, Earthquakes, and Volcanoes

PBS: Mountain Maker, Earth Shaker Interactive Plate Boundaries

TED-Ed: The Pangaea Pop-up (4:25)


MinuteEarth: Plate Tectonics Explained (2:36)

PBS: How Do We Know Plate Tectonics Is Real? (4:22)

Activity: A Plate Tectonics Jigsaw (Free PDF from TeachIt Geography)

NOAA: Age of Oceanic Lithosphere
More Images   |   gEarth

Seafloor Spreading with Bill Nye (4:01)

(An oldie, but a goodie)

Magnetic Striping and Sea Floor Spreading (6:26)

Looking for Hurricanes, Volcanoes or Tsunamis? →They now have their own page: Geo-Hazards