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Thread: Plate Tectonics Application Questions

  1. #1 Plate Tectonics Application Questions 
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    1) Name the 5 lithospheric plates which are responsible for the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

    The standard answer is North American plate, South American plate, Eurasian plate, African plate, and Antarctic plate
    I don't get the bolded part...in what way is the Antarctic plate responsible for Mid-Atlantic Ridge? Between Antarctic plate and which plate make up part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge?

    2) Name the lithospheric plate whose subduction is responsible for the longest mountain range on earth.

    Originally the answer is Nazca plate, but a student in my class argues that mid-ocean ridges are the longest mountain range on earth and the teacher changes the answer to Pacific plate...this seems not to be making any sense to me. If I assume that the question is refering the longest mountain range on earth as the mid-ocean ridges instead of the Andes, the answer of Pacific plate is still not possible. First of all, the mid-ocean ridges aren't formed by subduction, but formed by divergence. Secondly, Pacific plate only includes part of the mid-ocean ridges that winds around the earth. What do you think is the appropriate answer?

    3) Name the lithospheric plate which moves eastwards away from the African plate and name the resulting major geological feature as a result of the above mentioned plate separation.

    I answered Arabian plate and the plate separation formed the Red Sea, but I got marked wrong for the second part, and the correct answer is East African Rift. Why? Isn't the East African Rift be way below the Arabian-African plate boundary?

    Would someone like to discuss?


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Kingwinner, I'll come back to you later in detail on this if nobody else has replied in the meantime. Your questions (I understand they are not actually yours, but have been given to you.) are what I would describe as false questions. They imply that there is a single correct answer, when in fact the answer depends upon how you have initially defined your terms. These appear very loose indeed.


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  4. #3  
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    By the way, in my test, the mark breaks down as follow:

    Q1: (5 marks)
    Q2: (1 mark)
    Q3: (2 marks)
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  5. #4  
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    I have just spent half an hour reading in the Wikipedia and have found two key quotes explaning East African Rift.

    "The [Red] sea occupies a part of the Great Rift Valley [i.e. East African Rift)]"

    "It [East African Rift] has been created through the rifting and separation of the African and Arabian tectonic plates that began around 35 million years ago in the north, and by the ongoing separation of East Africa from the rest of Africa along the East African Rift, which began about 15 million years ago."

    They match the standard answer to question 3 and I finally understand it now! The best answer to question 3 is, indeed, East African Rift.

    Can someone explain question 1 & 2?

    For question 2, "Name the lithospheric plate whose subduction is responsible for the longest mountain range on earth"
    By the word subduction, it is obviously referring the longest mountain range on earth as the Andes instead of the mid-ocean ridges, and the answer would be impossible to be Pacific plate, which is the standard answer given by my instructor, right?
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