Plate Kinematics, Paleomagnetism, Convection

  • Demonstrate plate kinematics using paper cutouts: transforms, rotations about Euler poles, triple junctions, etc. Cutout of Pacific-North America boundary shows ridge, transform, and subduction portions. Absolute plate motions are demonstrated using pencil as “mantle plume” and moving one paper (simulating plate) over a fixed one (simulating mantle)
  • Illustrate dipole magnetic field using commercially available clear plastic box filled with iron filings in oil, into which a magnet is slid (works nicely on a overhead projector).
  • Dip needle illustrates inclination of Earth’s field.
  • Demonstrate convection, using beaker containing water and mica flakes (tracers) on a hot plate, which heats up. With proper lecture pacing and luck, convection begins just as the Rayleigh number discussion reaches appropriate point.

 Related pages:

Seismic refraction experiments carried out by US scientists

Hawaii Volcano Observatory

TOPEX/Poseiden Estimated Seafloor Topography