Main Menu > Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes
Welcome to the greatest show on Earth.
Propelled by intense heat simmering beneath the crust, Earth’s surface is dramatically reshaping itself in an endless, slow-motion ballet called plate tectonics. Its huge, rocky plates separate, collide, and slide past each other causing earthquakes, feeding volcanic eruptions, and raising mountains.
Volcanoes & Hot Spots
Vivid reminders that our planet is geologically active, volcanic eruptions are generated by the same heat engine that drives Earth's plates. Volcanoes form at places where large quantities of heat escape at the surface—sometimes quite dramatically. Earth's volcanoes vary widely in size, form, and explosivity. Some erupt violently, others pour out rivers of lava. This diversity is
largely related to their plate-tectonic environments.