This animation provides an overview of some basic concepts from plate tectonics, a fundamental theory in earth science.
As shown in the animation, heat inside Earth sets up a convection current that drives the motion of tectonic plates. This can lead to the separation of plates and subduction of the mantle, ultimately causing earthquakes, volcanoes, and many other features of our planet.
This animation is a clip from a 2012 Holiday Lecture Series, Changing Planet: Past, Present, Future. Depending on students’ background, it may be helpful to pause the animation at various points to discuss different features.