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Plate Tectonics and Sea-Floor Spreading, Subduction Zones, "Hot Spots", and the "Ring of Fire"
This site is part of the United States Geological Survey, Cascade Volcano Observatory web site. It provides general information about the theory of plate tectonics. It correlates specific landform types and physical processes with the types of plate boundaries where they occur. The explanation of each boundary type includes real world examples and links to United States Geological Survey web pages about each example. The links between volcanism, earthquakes, and plate boundaries is also discussed. There is a section of the site that explores the types of volcanism that occur at spreading ridges, subduction zones, and hot spots (intraplate volcanism). Links are also provided to information on specific areas. These areas include: Cascade Range Volcanoes, Gorda Ridge, Juan de Fuca Plate, Juan de Fuca Ridge, North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, and the Yellowstone Caldera.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Tutorial
  • Visual:
    • Map
    • Photograph
    • Visualization - scientific
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
USGS-authored or produced data and information are in the public domain. While the content of most USGS web pages is in the public domain, not all the information on our site is in the public domain. Some images/graphics are used by USGS with permission. For other uses, you may need to obtain permission from the copyright holder under the copyright law. You are welcome to make a link to any of the Web pages USGS has published on the Internet. There is no need to request permission. Use of the USGS visual identifier (logo) is restricted to official publications. We will identify material we use from sources outside of USGS, and request others do the same when using information published by USGS. Credit can be provided by including on the page (or via a link to a credits page) a citation such as: Credit: U. S. Geological Survey; U. S. Geological Survey/photo by Jane Doe (if the artist is known); USGS/Ft. Collins, CO (if originating office but not the artist is known).
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-000-271
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: Lyn Topinka
United States Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, Cascade Volcano Observatory