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标题新东方36-1 分类12 查看3574 上传46

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Plate Tectonics and Sea-floor Spreading

The theory of plate tectonics describes the motions of the lithosphere, the comparatively rigid outer layer of the Earth that includes all the crust and part of the underlying mantle. The lithosphere(n.[地]岩石圈)is divided into a few dozen plates of various sizes and shapes, in general the plates are in motion with respect to one another. A mid-ocean ridge is a boundary between plates where new lithospheric material is injected from below. As the plates diverge from a mid-ocean ridge they slide on a more yielding layer at the base of the lithosphere.

Since the size of the Earth is essentially constant, new lithosphere can be created at the mid-ocean ridges only if an equal amount of lithospheric material is consumed elsewhere. The site of this destruction is another kind of plate boundary: a subduction zone. There one plate dives under the edge of another and is reincorporated into the mantle.

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