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USGS Geology in the Parks

 

Plate Tectonics Animations

These animations were originally produced for the US Geological Survey video Secrets in Stone. They have been converted to animated gifs for web display. You may use these animations for any educational purpose, we simply request that you cite the US Geological Survey as their source.

Click here to go to the geology potpourri animation page.

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Plate motions from 600 million years ago to today. (3.2 MB)

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Map of world topography and oceans with plate boundaries, and arrows representing plate vectors appear.

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This animation begins with a world map, plate boundaries appear, and plates are distinguished by color shades.

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Beginning with a view of Earth with the continents in their present positions, the continents move back in time to reunite as Pangaea, are labeled, and locations of stratigraphic and fossil evidence that Wegener used to argue in favor of continental drift are added.

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Beginning where the animation above leaves off, the globe shows Pangaea reunited and locations of stratigraphic and fossil evidence that Wegener used to argue in favor of continental drift. The continents break up and move to their present positions, carrying the evidence with them.

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Animation begins with globe showing Pangaea united, the continents move apart to present positions. No labels are added in this version.

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The globe showing topography of continents and ocean basins, followed by red dots appearing on Hawaii, Aleutians, and the Rio Grand Rift, California.

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Magnometer - A ship moves across the view, towing a magnetometer, magnetic stripes that the magnetometer 'sees' then appear superimposed on ocean floor.

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Blue field with strip of magnetic stripes, then another stripe appears that shows how this correlates with time before the present.

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A close-up showing mid-ocean ridge topography with magma chamber below, which rises and new ocean plates spreads away from ridge.

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A close-up of a mid-ocean ridge showing normal and reverse stripes; magma rises, and stripes move away from ridge. Good companion for ridge topography version, above.

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Same as animation two rows above, except it has stripes moving away from ridge beneath surface topography, representing magnetic stripes.

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Begins with close-up of mid-ocean ridge with topography, normal and reverse magnetic stripes appear, and arrows point, showing which stripes are normal, then arrows point to which stripes are reversed.

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Porosity and vein formation.

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Where are the world's energy-using urban areas? You can easily see them on this spinning globe shown at night.

 

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