# What causes plate tectonics to move?

## What causes plate tectonics to move?

Earth’s crust, called the lithosphere, consists of 15 to 20 moving tectonic plates. The heat from radioactive processes within the planet’s interior causes the plates to move, sometimes toward and sometimes away from each other. This movement is called plate motion, or tectonic shift.

How do gravitational forces help move the earth’s plates?

In the current understanding of plate motion the movement is driven by the weight of cold, older, dense plate material sinking into the mantle at deep ocean trenches and pulling the rest of the plate slab with them as gravity causes them to slide downwards.

### Which action is a result of gravity in relation to moving tectonic plates?

Ridge push (also known as gravitational sliding) or sliding plate force is a proposed driving force for plate motion in plate tectonics that occurs at mid-ocean ridges as the result of the rigid lithosphere sliding down the hot, raised asthenosphere below mid-ocean ridges.

Which process causes the continents to move?

Today, we know that the continents rest on massive slabs of rock called tectonic plates. The plates are always moving and interacting in a process called plate tectonics. As the seafloor grows wider, the continents on opposite sides of the ridge move away from each other.

#### What are the forces that drive plate motion?

It was once thought that mantle convection could drive plate motions. Early textbooks showed mantle convection cells, like in a beaker of hot liquid on a Bunsen burner, pushing plates along from below.

How are heat and gravity related to plate tectonics?

Heat and gravity are fundamental to the process Lithospheric plates are part of a planetary scale thermal convection system. The energy source for plate tectonics is Earth’s internal heat while the forces moving the plates are the “ridge push” and “slab pull” gravity forces.

## How are the lithospheric plates used in plate tectonics?

Lithospheric plates are part of a planetary scale thermal convection system. The energy source for plate tectonics is Earth’s internal heat while the forces moving the plates are the “ridge push” and “slab pull” gravity forces.

How does the movement of the earth’s plates affect the polar regions?

And on a much longer timescale, the movement of earth’s plates slowly reconfigures oceans and continents. Each one of these processes plays a role in the Arctic and Antarctica. We’ll discuss each in general and specifically in the polar regions. Wind, water, and ice are the three agents of erosion, or the carrying away of rock, sediment, and soil.